Do you live in a rural community? If you do, odds are you wish you had a better Web connection. One of the downsides of living in the country can be poor Internet service - just ask this guy in upstate New York. One possible solution to the problem is surprisingly non-technical: sheep.
That's right. People living in rural communities might be able to use sheep to boost their Wi-Fi connections. The idea is the brainchild of Professor Gordon Blair from Lancaster University in the U.K. Blair is trying to bring the "Internet of Things" to a rural area, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has given him the equivalent of $267,090 to fund his mission.
The Internet of Things refers to integrating Web-enabled gadgets into everyday life, like smart thermostats, wearables, smart security sensors, smart TVs, smart appliances and more.
Usually this idea conjures thoughts of high-tech cities, but Blair thinks it can help rural areas, too. And, the Wi-Fi sheep could be a big part of the plan.
"The possibilities of bringing the Internet of Things to the countryside are limitless."
The Wi-Fi sheep idea could solve a couple problems for people in rural communities. First off, the sheep would be fitted with digital collars that would track where they go. This could help farmers keep track of their flocks. But, that's not all.
The collars could also double as Wi-Fi hotspots to boost shoddy Internet service in the area. In rural communities with lots of sheep, that could have a significant effect. Other proposed projects include adding sensors to riverbanks and utilizing rainfall monitors.
This isn't the first time that sheep have been used in ingenious ways in the U.K. During this year's Tour de France, some sheep were fitted with cameras to record the event as it passed through Yorkshire.