Pedometer is certainly simpler to say than accelerometer – but then the former is a very simple concept for measuring cow movement.

The accelerometer, on the other hand, does much more. Incorporated in the “IceQube” cow leg sensor to be launched by an Edinburgh firm at EuroTier, it records movements in 3-D.

Based on the sensory system triggering car air bags, IceQube measures up/down, sideways and forward/backward movements – and even notes periods of no movement and lying times of the cow. It incorporates a memory that uploads all information into the parlour computer each milking. A research version is already used by universities and similar institutions in 25 countries.

This is the first commercial version, explains Robert Boyce, commercial director of engineering concern IceRobotics: “By profiling the precise movement patterns for each cow our software is able to give a herd manager very detailed information on cow health, not only when it is bulling. Early signs of foot trouble become very obvious, for instance.” Price: Under £85 per IceQube.