Iris Scan Horse Identification in the Works

A new tool that will allow horses to be identified quickly via an iris scan should be available next year, said the company pioneering it.

"We plan to develop this technology to identify horses," said Bobby Varma, director of business development for Sarnoff Corporation.

Sarnoff was commissioned to build the scanner by Global Animal Management, a company that plans to bring this product to market.

The scanner uses an infrared light that can capture an image of a horse's iris from distances of up to one meter away. The iris image would be matched to information stored in a central database, and could be used to identify stolen animals, or horses before a race.

The scanner provides many identification benefits that a traditional tattoo or microchip does not, according to Varma.

"This is very noninvasive and gives a more accurate reading, as no two irises are the same," she said.

This iris identification technology is already being used for humans in secure government facilities and private companies. Varma expects the Thoroughbred industry will be the first to use this technology because of the value of the horses.

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Liz Brown

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