Tech Tuesday

Power up Your Web Cam

If you've added a Web camera for your computer there's an interesting way to use the tool to find out about some new equipment.

We're nearing the farm show season - like within weeks - and there's going to be plenty of new stuff to see at the big shows. What's fun is watching how companies bring that message to you, whether it's ads or excellent editorial coverage by your favorite farm magazine editor.

But in the non-ag world there are interesting tools being put to use that mate your Web camera with the Internet to provide an enhanced information experience - they call it "augmented reality." Frankly I like "actual reality" fine myself, but here comes the "augmented" form.

John Deere is going to provide new technology "in grain harvesting equipment" according to a press release and they're using augmented reality to provide you a sneak peek. By the way - they're talking combine - anyway, using your Web cam and the augmented reality software that can be downloaded from the John Deere Unlock website, customers and anyone interested in seeing the new combine can get a look. I haven't tried this yet, but apparently you can view the outside and inside components of the new machine with a full 360-degree perspective - above, below, and all around.

David Pauli, John Deere advertising manager for large ag equipment, notes in a media release that this is the first time John Deere has used augmented reality technology to bring the new equipment to life for customers. This creates a very interactive experience. In a press statement, Pauli comments: "For the last four months, the Unlock website has provided an entertaining platform that gives customers unique insight into our new equipment leading up to our product launch. The 3-D augmented reality program is the culmination of all those efforts in launching the new combine."

For Tech Tuesday, I'm interested in the potential for this technology to help inform users on a range of topics in the future. With the ability to give you a 3-D look at an idea - we could help explain difficult issues. Or companies can help train users in better managing products and services on the farm.

You can learn more at the Unlock website. I'll be getting a look at the new machines later in August - and we can all take a look at the big fall farm shows including the Farm Progress Show and Husker Harvest Days.

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