A sheep collar in-built pulse monitor, which sends a VHF signal to a GSM receiver that texts a farmer when his or her sheep are under attack, is under development by three Meath-based teenagers.

Edel Campbell, Zoe Maguire and Ricardas Cepanauskas, all 13 years of age, won this year's Meath County Enterprise Board competition with this business idea and now the teenagers are running a FundIt campaign to develop a prototype of the innovation.

"When sheep are under attack, the pulse rate of the sheep elevates above the normal 60-90 beats per minute for a sustained period. This triggers a VHF signal to be emitted from the collar and picked up by a receiver located in a secure area of the field. This receiver will also have a GSM, which will text the farmer informing him that his sheep are under attack," the teen business leaders outlined.

"The pulse sensor will record the pulse every 15 seconds, so when the sheep are in danger the farmer will get a text through to his phone. If the farmer doesn’t respond with a blank text within two minutes the message will be sent again."

According to the teenagers, the advantages of this invention are that it saves the lives of sheep and also dogs as they would have to be put down by the farmer if he attacked his sheep. The collars also save the farmers from expensive veterinarian bills for treating injured sheep, they say.

"It will also protect the farmers. It will give him or her peace of mind and it will also send him or her a message when sheep are lambing allowing the farmer to get a better night’s sleep."

As part of their business, the business women are donating five per cent of their profit to the ISPCA, the leading animal welfare charity in Ireland.

They explained the origin of their idea: "The origins of the idea came about when one of our team members, Emma, was having a conversation with her dad about a major sheep kill in the Midlands and hearing about all the sheep worrying incidents in local farmers’ fields. They discussed ways of how sheep could be monitored to safe guard them from dog attacks and how the owner of the sheep could be alerted that their sheep were under attack.

"This idea was never acted upon, until Emma was with a group of her school friends, Edel Campbell, Zoe Maguire and Ricardas Cepanauskas trying to come up with a business idea for a local county enterprise project. The idea was pitched to her friends and they thought the idea was good so they teamed together to develop it further."

The businesswomen hope to have the product on shelves by the end of 2014. Their FundIt campaign is available here http://fundit.ie/project/sheep-watch.

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