Will Pokémon Go Spark the Augmented Reality Revolution in Farming? (Opinion)

Even if you’ve been buried in a tractor cab or chained to your desk at work the past couple weeks, even you’ve noticed this new Pokémon Go craze.

Gotta admit, not really a huge fan myself (surprising, right?), but I’ve been guilty in the past of enjoying an augmented reality product or two (the failed Google Glass comes to mind – I seriously thought that thing was the future).

From the looks of things, with the success of this Pokémon stuff resuscitating a dying gaming giant (Nintendo’s stock price soared over 50% since the apps debut, instantly adding $12 billion to the company’s market capitalization, and Apple has reportedly made $3 billion off the app already), certainly other software developers are meeting right now and planning their augmented reality strategies going forward.

Which, as always when we’re writing on these pages, brings us to precision agriculture.

What will augmented reality in farming look like? We’ve witnessed a brief glimpse with Deere’s 2012 YouTube hit “Farm Forward,” but being that that video debuted four years ago, and we’re still not really anywhere near the futuristic farm (Tron Farm!) portrayed in the video below, it’s all conjecture and speculation for now.

Will the VR-headset Oculus Rift turn out to be the model for hardware, or will my old buddy Google Glass be brought back from the dead, as has been rumored in recent days? Will somebody like Deere or Case, or even one of the innovative newer players like Yield Center 360, come up with an augmented reality headset specifically for ag?

But more importantly, in ten or 20 years from now – when augmented reality should be accessible to the masses – what will a farmer see when he looks across the field through whichever device wins out?

Will fields be displayed broken down into their individual management zones, with real-time data like soil moisture levels, sunlight cations, projected Nitrogen use, and other advanced analytics popping up as you traverse the ground? Or will it be more of a push notification-driven setup, with a farmer looking out over the field and red warning notifications popping up where weed or insect or disease or drought pressures pass a set threshold? Who will develop the first in-field agronomy application for augmented reality?

How would augmented reality change certain culture practices? Could it save on trips across the field? How will it interface with large equipment like sprayers and combines?

Could there be a future where a farmer walk up to his combine in the morning and every machine diagnostic statistic that that farmer wants to know is right there in one place, in his/her line of vision, and notifications pop up about things like oil levels or whether the sprayer needs to be double rinsed before another tank mix is loaded in?

Or perhaps as an applicator pulls up to a grower’s field everything that applicator needs to know to make a precise and environmentally-sound application – product label information, current wind speed and direction, and sensitive crops grown nearby – is all right there in his/her vision, without having to be looked up or having to load an application on his smartphone or tablet?

So sure, this whole Pokémon Go thing can be a bit annoying at times (grumble grumble Get Off My Lawn!), but if it ends up being the spark that ignites Silicon Valley to finally get this technology out into the hands of the masses and into farm fields, well, then I’ll say thank you, Pikachu.

How do you think Augmented Reality will look in farming? Are you already working on applications for this technology? Drop us a line in the Comments Section below, or get in touch with us at 440-602-9165 or email [email protected]

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