Interpretive Summary: VTag: a semi-supervised pipeline for tracking pig activity with a single top-view camera
By: Chun-Peng J Chen, Gota Morota, Kiho Lee, Zhiwu Zhang, Hao Cheng
Collecting detailed measurements of animals through cameras has become an important focus with the rising demand for meat production in the swine industry. Currently, researchers use computational approaches to train models to recognize pig morphological features and monitor pig behaviors automatically. Though little human effort is needed after model training, current solutions require a large amount of pre-selected images for the training process, and the expensive preparation work is difficult for many farms to implement such practice. Hence, a pipeline, VTag, is presented to address these challenges in our study. With few supervisions, VTag can automatically track positions of multiple pigs from one single top-view RGB camera. No pre-labeled images are required to establish a robust pig tracking system. Additionally, the pipeline was released as a software tool with a friendly graphical user interface, that is easy to learn for general users. Among the presented datasets, the average tracking error is 17.99 cm, which is shorter than one-third of the pig body length in the study. The estimated pig activity from VTag can serve as useful farming guidance. The presented strategy saves massive laborious work in preparing training datasets and setting up monitoring environments. The rapid deployment of the tracking system paves the way for pig behavior monitoring.
Read the full article on the Journal of Animal Science.