What is in this article?:
- Wearable computers could make steep inroads into farming
- On-the-spot decisions
- No questions
- Mobility is one of many factors that may draw farmers to using wearable computers.
- Visual, textual and other data uploaded on the go via Google Glass and other wearable devices will not only be available for future reference but can also be shared on a real-time basis.
GREG PATE, an agronomist and director of the E.V. Smith Research Station near Montgomery, Ala., uses Google Glass to scout cotton for the first time in history. In this case he is checking for boll rot.
Visual, textual and other data uploaded on the go via Google Glass and other wearable devices will not only be available for future reference but can also be shared on a real-time basis better enabling farmers to make spot decisions in the field.
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Fulton, an Auburn University associate professor of Biosystems Engineering who heads the Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s crops team, offers a medical analogy to illustrate this technology ultimately could benefit farmers.
“Let’s imagine I’m dealing with a rash on my arm,” he says. “I take a picture and send it to a physician, who advises me to quarantine myself for 10 days because I’m suffering from the early stages of chicken pox.”
“Think about this: I conceivably could secure this diagnosis in a matter of minutes or even seconds and without the time spent making an appointment, driving to the doctor’s office and waiting to be received.”
The same approach could be employed with similar levels of efficiency for insect, weed and disease issues on the farm. Infield observations of growers or crop scouts using Google Glass or similar wearable computers could be made available in real time to Extension entomologists, weed scientists or plant pathologists for quick evaluation and diagnosis — or, they could be uploaded to a cloud for future reference.
“I can use one of these devices to capture infield information that can be stamped by time, date and GPS coordinates and that also can be automatically archived,” he says.
“With the blink of an eye or a tap [of the Google Glass] I’ve made a screen capture of an item that could be of critical importance later in the crop season.
“For that matter, I could share this information with a crop consultant or input supplier even as I’m observing it in the field.”
Small wonder why Greg Pate, agronomist and director of Auburn University’s E.V. Smith Research Center near Montgomery, predicts that wearable computers could prove useful in many facets of farming, particularly crop consulting.