Missouri Patent of the Month – December 2022

Illegal drugs have been growing in use in horse racing. Whether using a stimulant or a tranquilizer, the horse is often overworked and trained to push through injuries, ultimately hurting them more. The widespread use of pharmaceuticals is unique to American racing and many believe it puts racehorses at greater risk of crippling injuries and death. Equine SmartBit, LLC (ESB) has designed an oral and saliva-based drug monitoring system for horses to help address this issue.

ESB is known for pioneering “SmartBit” technology which measures real-time equine wellness by monitoring, analyzing and alerting owners to the health and performance of their horse. This technology uses micro-sensors in a horsebit to gather data and analyze real-time environmental and biometric sensors.

Their newly patented technology builds on their SmartBit to track drug levels. Equipped with biosensors, the device tests a horse’s metabolism and changes in physicality. A pocket provides a space where test strips can be held to test the animal for drugs. The test strips react to analytes present in the horse’s saliva. The test strips work alongside the health monitoring unit which tracks SpO2 levels, pulse, temperature and so on. 

In order to prevent users from scamming the drug test, the results are attached to an oral cavity “fingerprint”. A camera is positioned to take high-definition images of the horse’s entire mouth – tongue, cheek, and teeth. This acts as a unique identifier and, alongside a timestamp, ensures a result cannot be forged.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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