Colorado State Research Foundation Honors Developers of OptiReader Technology with Top Research Award
Three Colorado State University professors were awarded the Colorado State University Research Foundation's 2005 Technology Transfer Award for their development of a process to track livestock through scanning each animal's unique retinal image.
The award, formerly called the Researcher of the Year Award, is presented annually to a top Colorado State researcher who has developed technology and had it successfully commercialized through patents and license agreements.
The 2005 award was presented to Dr. Bruce Golden, who was a full professor of animal genetics and breeding at Colorado State for 19 years and is currently an affiliate faculty member; Dr. Bernard Rollin, a University Distinguished Professor of philosophy and University bioethicist; and Dr. Ralph Switzer, a professor of finance in the College of Business and an adjunct professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. They received the prestigious honor at the Foundation's 19th Technology Transfer Awards Banquet, on the seventh anniversary of the launch of their start-up company, Optibrand. Optibrand has patents in four countries, including the United States, and has applications pending in other nations.
Optibrand's founders developed a new method for tracking animals including cattle, pigs and sheep by using a device known as the OptiReader - a combination handheld computer and digital video camera - to take an image of retinal vascular patterns which are unique to each animal. The camera records the pattern and sends it to the handheld computer, from which data can be transmitted to an Internet-accessible database. The OptiReader provides a method of verifying the source, location and ownership of live animals and identifying those animals at the slaughter house.
Animals that contract diseases can easily be tracked because an individual animal's Global Positioning Satellite information is automatically encrypted every time the animal's eye is imaged. Their locations and animals they have come in contact with can quickly be determined. In 2004, Optibrand signed a contract with Greeley-based Swift & Co., the nation's third-largest beef supplier, to use its system in Greeley plants.