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Google Glass is on its way to the farm
Google Glass is a new tool that, once in the hands of farmers, will likely help with many of the jobs currently done via a desktop, laptop or smartphone...all in a device the size of a pair of sunglasses. I recently had the chance to go to Los Angeles, California to a Google facility to try out a beta version of the new device. Here are a few highlights.
I got to put on the Glass device. There's a small battery, a processor with 16 GB of storage and a small prism (that's the light above my right eye) on which information's displayed. A Google 'Glass Guide' told me it's the equivalent of looking at a 25-inch monitor from 8 feet away. And, it's translucent and just above your field of normal sight.
This is Bruce Rasa, an Atlanta, Georgia-based Google Glass 'Explorer.' Bruce was one of 8,000 people who was had the opportunity to be an early product tester for Glass. After testing the device, he said "it's faster and simpler, basically, than any computer."
Here's a closer look of the prism that displays content, which is arranged in 'cards.' What you see is a translucent rectangle just above your line of sight, and the 'cards' (think icons on the desktop of your computer) are arranged in a ring-like structure. Imagine if you had a hula hoop around your head with playing cards on it, rotating around your head. That's about how it looks.
On the right side of this picture, you'll see the real guts of the Glass. Attached to the prism is the processor that contains 16 GB of file storage. In the upper-right hand corner of this photo is the battery and sound conductor. It is a little more weight, but the plastic and titanium construction keeps it really light.
Glass doesn't run on its own. It has to be 'paired' with a smartphone, either Android or iPhone. The app connects to the user's Google+ account, which is where photos, video and other content that's created via Glass resides. Google+ allows full privacy controls through which the user can determine whether their Glass content is public or private, something that could affect farmer adoption down the road.
One very cool feature is how you can create a Google 'Hangout' with the device. A Google Hangout is essentially a live video chat. With Glass, you can do so while showing what you're seeing via the device's camera (versus using a webcam on a desktop computer, for example). This could have major utility on the farm, with things like machinery maintenance and veterinary treatments and operations.
The device comes in several colors, but unfortunately not the 2 most common colors on the farm -- red or green! And, if you don't want to stick out as much while wearing the Glass (an admittedly sort of odd-looking device at first), you can get some snap-on sunglass lenses.
The device -- at least in its current beta-testing phase -- does have a few drawbacks. We just about ran the battery completely out of juice in a little over an hour. And, you can definitely tell you're wearing something more than a regular pair of glasses because the weight's on one side. These will likely improve when the consumer version's released.
Check out a first-hand account of the unveiling of a hot new tech tool that could have major uses on the farm.