Garden Geekery

The Future is Now: Beekeeping with Google Glass

So my husband recently received Google Glass through his employment. Briefly, Glass is Google’s newest attempt at wearable tech: A thing you wear like a pair of glasses but that projects email et al. on a tiny screen just above your line of sight, takes photos, records video, etc. For those who’ve seen Into Darkness, picture the accouterment worn by Scotty and the other transporter operator in several scenes.  (For a thorough introduction to what it is, see Tim’s thorough review here.)

It’s essentially a working prototype at this point, so nowhere near mass market, but it does have promise: The promise of hands-free hive inspection recording. Since it sits on your nose like a pair of glasses, you’re essentially recording a first-person view. Just start up the recording with a couple of taps, throw on your veil, and you’re good to go.

I borrowed the contraption for a little hive maintenance. First up was hiving a nucleus colony. Unfortunately, one of the files got corrupted, and of course it was the most important bit, i.e., actually transferring the bees from the nuc to the hive. But at least you can get an idea of what it’s like. (Note: I’ve never narrated anything before, so cut me some slack.)

I also did an inspection of the neighboring hive. Tim grabbed a clip from that recording and posted it for engadget, which you can see here.

I found this experience to be pretty awesome. No cameras to deal with and get all sticky, and I could record my entire inspection, so I don’t forget what I saw. Keeping good records is essential to good hive management, but it gets to be a pain to either fumble around and take pictures or try to write everything down in a sticky notebook. This way, it’s all right there for me to look back on.

It would definitely benefit from having voice-activated extended recording. Right now it does record on voice command, but only for 10 seconds at a time; if you want to record longer, you have to manually tap on the device, which is impossible to do through a veil. But I’m sure that’s coming; this is pretty much just Google’s first cut at the technology, after all. I don’t think whatever the eventual price point is will make it worthwhile for most beekeepers, but if you happen to have other uses for it and happen to keep bees, this is one more use to add to your list of cool things to do with Glass.

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