Research into new monitoring device to boost horse welfare and performance

Posted in: Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Research

Author: Dr Ben Metcalfe -

A soundbite by Dr Ben Metcalfe, lecturer from the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering.

The EquiVi project is led by Dr Metcalfe, which involves the development of a wearable and wireless monitoring device for horses. The device will collect reliable and real-time physiological measurements of a horse's vital signs, such as cardiovascular health.

He has worked with the prestige UK equine sensor manufacturer, Equinity Tech, as well as the Hong Kong Jockey Club, one of the most notable racing foundations in the world.


My name is Dr Ben Metcalfe. I am a lecturer in the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering. My research area is biomedical electronics. I am very interested in the ways in which we can use technology to improve healthcare.

At the moment one of the projects I am particularly interested in is taking this technology and applying it for veterinary applications. We have done a lot of work in measuring the electrical signals that come from the heart, which is called the electrocardiogram (ECG). In humans, this is a very common way of measuring the heart and understanding the health of the heart. In veterinary practice, this is quite challenging to do and the specific application that we are looking at is horses. You'd think that measuring these ECG from horses would be quite simple, but it's actually very difficult.

This research project is trying to develop a lightweight wearable and wireless monitoring system, that we can apply specifically to thoroughbred race horses that will monitor the electrical activity of the heart, and throughout their daily training and practice. Research can span from the very applied to the very theoretical. It is important with all research that we have these things called pathway to impact so that we actually understand how what we're doing will ultimately help our society or individuals. In the case of my project working with animals, I think the potential impact here is very clear. We still have worryingly high numbers of fatalities in events all around the world. A lot of this is because we really do not understand how to monitor the health of the animals.

One of the things that I found exciting about this particular area of research is that I get to interact with horses. I really like horses. I am an average horse rider. I have ridden them all my life. It is actually fun to take some research that you have developed in the lab and go out and apply it in the real world, which we are doing now with these wonderful creatures.


Posted in: Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Research

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