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A smart shirt for cows helps fight the heat in Japan

A Japanese apparel company designed a shirt for cows to help them beat the summer heat so they keep producing milk.

Dairy Cattle

Cows in Japan now have a shirt to help them battle the summer heat.

JTB Photo/UIG via Getty Images

It's summer in Japan and, like humans, the cows are feeling the heat.

To prevent heat stress -- which could cause the cattle a ton of health problems -- apparel company Gunze Ltd designed a shirt for cows that cools them down with water, reports The Japan Times.

Called Ushi-ble, the shirt is made of a "feel-cool" material often found in sportswear. The shirt, which covers the cow's neck and shoulders, has a sensor installed that monitors the dampness of the material. When it becomes too dry, water is pumped through a tube so the cow is drenched. It vaporises later to bring the cow's temperature down by approximately five degrees.

Tests done by Gunze and the Kyoto Prefectural Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Technology Center have proven Ushi-ble effective in minimising the consequences of heat stress in cows. For example, while milk production usually falls by around 10 percent during summer, a reduction in the decline is observed in cows donning the shirt.

Tech wearables aren't just for cattle. In 2015, apparel company Lukla Endeavour developed a jacket that comes with aerogel insulation -- a NASA technology -- that keeps its wearers warm in cold climates. The following year, Singapore startup, Tware, designed a massage jacket that pounds its wearer's back on the go.

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