Groundbreaking facial recognition software under development in Dunedin - for sheep

With more than 27 million sheep in New Zealand, the chances of telling them apart are usually pretty slim.

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The inventors hope the software will eliminate the need for costly ear-tags. Source: 1 NEWS

But that could soon be about to change, thanks to a new piece of facial recognition software being developed in Dunedin.

Benoit Auvray and Greg Peyroux from Iris Data Science are currently developing the software, in hopes of eliminating the need for costly ear tags.

Mr Auvray admitting the idea has surprised a few farmers.

"Either they’re very excited, or they just laugh," he says.

The technology is used on humans worldwide, as well as on cattle and pigs overseas.

The pair, though, believe this will be the first time it’s been used on sheep.

"It’s a novel thing to watch to start with… but then a lot of things in the past have probably been novel ideas and they’ve worked out," Rosebank Farmer Barry Crawford says.

While the aim is to eliminate ear tags, it could also help farmers and police track down stolen sheep from places like stock trucks and freezing works.

The pair are hoping to fine-tune the technology over the coming months, with the aim to eventually have it available through cellphones.

Ewe never know, it might just be the piece of technology farmers have been waiting for.