Viewing the demo of Google Glass, a tiny wearable computer, reminds me of a feeling from the early days of the Internet. The first image I saw of a live demonstration of the graphical browser nearly 20 years ago was of a live image beamed back from a Mars expedition. It was so mind blowing that I couldn’t help but think that this Internet thing was going to change everything.
Google Glass, which is a lens-less pair of glasses with a miniature computer fixed to the right ear piece, holds promise to be the next big thing. One business analyst is predicting that purchases of Glass and other “smart glasses” will reach 6.6 million in a few years. Some of these glasses are going to wind up on the farm.
What can Glass do for ag? Treading into the unknown here, but here’s a little quick speculation:
Imagine looking through that little computer alongside your eye at everything on your farm. Hands free, you can record what you see. First, from the tractor cab you wink at Glass (or speak or touch it) to take a photo of a wet spot in a field. Glass quickly gives you a GPS reading to tag the location, as well as readout of the soil type, yield history, and input records. You store that file in an app for later reference.
Next, you turn your head, give the word, and presto a video of that dairy cow strolling into the barn with a limp gets shared with your vet. Oh, and before sending, you quick attach her ear tag and health history to the file.
You climb out of the pickup, kneel down and find a weed you’ve never noticed before. Glass follows your eyes, uses image recognition to identify the plant and then shoots out a prescription for controlling it. Turn your head again and shazam same thing with that bug on a soybean leaf a few feet away.
Next, you know that your aerial pilot is wearing Glass while flying on a cover crop, so you tune in to watch a live feed from the plane of the seed drop pattern, making sure that wind conditions and seeding rate are optimal.
Maybe you’ve got a drone in the air, too, taking spectoradiometer readings to project yields from your seed test plots. Glass gives you a quick visual on how far along the flight’s gone.
Ask Glass what’s next on your mind, which happens to be tomorrow’s weather forecast and the markets close--and up they pop.
Driving down the road you realize you need directions to the new tractor supply store. You ask and now you see the route superimposed over the highway. And then on the way home, there’s a great sunset. Snap a pic of that, and share it with the family, then tell Glass to say that you’ll soon be home for supper.
If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Google’s demo. Don’t miss the bit on What it Feels Like…and hang on to your hat.