Starting to Work with Glass

Google Glass at ZimmCommLike a story out of the future, except that it is now, comes The ZimmGlass Project. At least that’s what I’m calling it for now. What is it? We’re going to find out together over a period of time in which I experiment with Google Glass! Glass is basically a computer you wear on your face but that’s just just the short description. With its functionalities it is much more and that’s what I’ll be experimenting with.

I am one of the newest members of the Glass Explorers Program. Like Bruce Rasa, I want to find ways that this gamer changer technology can be incorporated into agricultural applications that will improve efficiencies and help farmer and company bottom lines. I’m looking for companies that may want to work on a test project that would include using Glass as part of an existing application or to develop a new one. You can be sure I’ll find a way to incorporate the device into online agricultural and social media.

This will serve as the first in a series of posts on my use of Glass and I welcome feedback and ideas you may have.

If you’d like to see the unboxing photos you can find them here: ZimmGlass Project – The Unboxing Photos

Practice with Farming Simulator

Farming SimulatorThere’s a new farming “game” coming to a Playstation or Xbox near you just in time for your holiday shopping.

Farming Simulator invites you to the fun yet demanding world of a modern day farmer. Take on all the challenges of farming life, including animal husbandry (breed cows, chicken, and sheep), planting and harvesting crops, and managing the sales of your bounty! It’s up to you to create your own farm in a huge open world which includes an all-new American environment. As your career progresses, you will control over 100 farming vehicles and machines, faithfully recreated from the biggest names in the industry (Case IH, Deutz-Fahr, Lamborghini, Grimme, etc.), with all new vehicles exclusive to Farming Simulator on consoles!

With an engaging experience, a large open world, and a huge fleet of vehicles, Farming Simulator invites you aboard the largest farming simulation ever created!

Farming Simulator will be available digitally and in stores on PlayStation®3 and Xbox 360® on November 19, 2013.

Farming Simulator was released in Europe and Asia first with much success.

New SMART Antennas from NovAtel

SMART6NovAtel Inc., the world’s leading supplier of OEM Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) components and subsystems announced its new AG-STAR GNSS antenna. This cost-effective L1 GPS+GLONASS receiver plus antenna system is housed in a single, low profile, rugged enclosure. Delivering smooth, consistent positioning at sub-metre accuracy, the AG-STAR is ideal for manual guidance and auto steer installations. AG-STAR is also available with an optional integrated Bluetooth radio to provide wireless connectivity.

Jason Hamilton, Director of Marketing at NovAtel stated, “Our single-frequency GLIDE firmware delivers the ultra-smooth positioning and high pass-to-pass accuracy required by manual guidance and auto-steer agriculture applications.” Mr. Hamilton added, “Developing this antenna with L1-only technology allows us to provide a reliable, robust antenna at a very attractive price point to our integrator customers.”

The design of the AG-STAR interface maximizes flexibility with two NMEA 0183 compatible RS-232 serial ports and a NMEA2000 compatible CAN port. One PPS output, an event mark input and three daylight readable status LEDs are also provided. Built-in magnets simplify mounting although fixed mounting options are also available.

Landmark Services Cooperative Scouting Drones

Landmark Services CooperativeTaking your iPad out in the field to fly a drone sounds like a lot of fun. This “fun” activity is becoming a business task more and more. The agronomists at Landmark Services Cooperative are getting in on the fun by using tablet-controlled drones for field scouting. One of the advantages this provides is quicker scouting times (up to 60% time savings) which means detecting problems faster. I talked with Dan Moehn, VP, Landmark Agronomy, about their use of this new technology. He says they just started using the drones at the beginning of this growing season. While controlling the drone from the tablet they fly to a height of about 100 feet depending on wind conditions which have a real impact on the small devices. The drone can be spun 360 degrees and captures photos and/or video of a lot of ground. Once landed he says they take an immediate look at what conditions look like.

“Whenever you see a field from a different perspective, you’re able to pick up new information,” he says. “If you’re standing at the end of a corn field, you have one perspective but, when you get in the air, you can see a much larger view of the field and can quickly spot areas that need attention.”

Agronomists traditionally scout fields by walking the length of the acreage and looking for problems – a process that may allow for areas to be missed or additional time spent.

“We look at that footage and evaluate the field, looking for any problem spots,” Moehn says. “If we see an area of crop that has signs of a disease or nutrient deficiency, we can then walk to that area of the field and take a closer look.

“We’re looking for early symptoms of disease pressure, nutrient deficiency or injury from insects,” he explains. “Typically, dark green plants are the healthiest. If the plant is showing signs of yellowness, it may be suffering from a nutrient or disease issue that needs further investigation.”

“We can get the results back quickly enough to make a change and promote a good yield,” Moehn says. “Now through pollination is the most critical time for plant development; if we find a problem, we can still make an effort to change things. When it gets later in the season, it becomes much less likely that you’ll be able to fix a problem.”

“The more scouting we can do, the more probable it is that we’ll see problems before they become bigger than they need to be,” Moehn says. “Preventing problems in the field is especially beneficial in a market where every bushel counts.”

You can listen to my interview with Dan here: Interview with Dan Moehn

Precision Pays Podcast: What about drones?

pp-podcastThe use of drones in agriculture is still being questioned. 

Dr. Kevin Price with the Kansas State University Department of Agronomy presented at last week’s IDEAg Interconnectivity Conference in Altoona, Iowa.  He says with the new technologies that are available, unmanned aircraft systems are going to be highly beneficial in the agriculture industry.  It will allow those that are using the drones to scout fields, check on livestock, and perform other agricultural applications.

In this Precision Pays Podcast we sit down with Dr. Kevin Price and learn more about how drones can be used in various ways related to agriculture.

Precision Pays Podcast



Precision Pays Podcast: The need for high speed

I live in suburbia.  High speed internet is an after thought for me and sadly it is something I take for granted.  For those that live in rural America – it is a struggle.  In some places – dial-up is still the only option available.  As the technologies that we use on the farm continue to advance  - dial-up doesn’t cut it anymore and our need for high-speed internet increases.

In this Precision Pays Podcast, sponsored by Ag Leader Technology, Brian McIntyre, VP Broadband for dishNET talks about how they are working to provide rural America with broadband internet.

Precision Pays Podcast

You can subscribe to the Precision Pays Podcast here.

The Precision Pays Podcast is sponsored by Ag Leader Technology.

Powering Your Precision Gadget

Hyperjuice MicroGot a new gadget on which you can use a new precision app for your farming operation? Then here’s an option for making sure it stays charged up on the road or in the field. It’s the Hyperjuice Micro.

I started out with a Hyperjuice Mini which I still have but I like the smaller Micro. It has two usb ports so you can plug in two gadgets at the same time to power them up. In my experience, my devices generally charge back up quickly.

There are special gadget covers that include an extra battery in them but I don’t like the extra bulk, including the “thin” ones. I like my slim case on my iPhone and I’d rather stick one of these in my jacket pocket if I’m going to be somewhere I can’t have my gear bag handy.

Your gadget is only good if it’s got power. True AgNerds know the importance of this. Don’t have to say, “My Phone is dead” because you ran out of juice!

Available in 10 different juicy colors and housed in an exquisite aluminum casing, HyperJuice Micro is equipped with one high power and one low power USB port that can charge the iPad and iPhone or any USB device. You will be spoiled for choice finding the right color to match your USB device.

How do you address the need to power your gadget up out in the field or on the road?

You’ll find lots of other useful gadget devices at HyperShop besides HyperJuice.