Grand Vision

ExpNat: Google Glass

Meet Google Glass; A technology that bears similar features to that of a modern-day smartphone, however, the device sits on the user’s head and responds not only to touch, but also to voice commands. The voice command features allow hands-free operation.

Grand Vision:
Wearable technology, like Google Glass is a potential game changer for the way we communicate and could revitalize the way we view and interact with nature. The information shared from this project has the potential to help to catalyze apps and technology usage optimal for supporting that positive nature connection. It also could drive ways to connect young people in urban or underserved environments to the environment and expose youth to explore STEM careers.

Saguro Cactus

The “poster child” of the desert- the Saguaro Cactus.

What if every kid in the world had instantaneous access to the “eyes” of any ecologist/researcher looking at any ecosystem? Not only could it provide insight to the vast majority of outdoor careers and the latest journeys and thrills in nature, but it could also provide rare experiences and better understanding of the world. By observing the outdoors with a researcher in the Southwest, Northeasterners and inner-city kids could discover that there is much more to a desert than sand, dunes, camels and the saguaro cactus.

Scientists in Mud

Even when stuck in the mud, voice activated wearable technology could allow scientists to actively share the up-close, unique perspective of their outdoor work.

What if every naturalist or outdoor educator had Glass where they could keep their notes and house an identification guide? They could continue to guide a group of kids or adults with their hands entirely free and the group could see a recorded archive of the trip at the conclusion of their excursion.

Will wearable tech help us to be more informed about the natural world around us? Will it help us to enjoy and appreciate the outdoors more? OR will it serve as a hindrance? Does it simply provide another barrier, another distraction? How can we use it rather to help us interpret and organically enhance our experiences with nature?

There is a lot to explore and this is going to be an exciting journey. Thanks for tuning in.

This project, Experience Nature: Out Standing in the Field, aims to explore various ways to use Glass to connect people to the natural world through two parts.

Part 1: The Outstanding in the Field portion consists of an ongoing series of video podcasts. The podcasts will document the work of an expert, exploring who they are, why they are passionate about what they do, and will share outdoor experiences through their perspective. Google Glass makes it possible for the expert to share what they are seeing while allowing their hands to be free. This provides an intimate look into the work of a wildlife researcher, biologist, paleontologist, or whatever expert is wearing the glass.

Key questions to explore are:

  • How can scientists/nature experts use glass for outreach? Is wearable technology helpful in the field?
  • Will the public respond positively to getting the close-up perspective of a field scientist? Will the perspective that glass provides and the live streaming option help people understand the vast amount of information we can learn from nature?
  • Will glass effectively allow people to understand the methods through which scientists learn from nature?
kids, expert, explore marshlands

Can wearable technology provide a new guidance to the natural world?

Part 2: The Out Standing in the Field portion of the project will seek to drive the conversation of the role of technology in environmental education. On a media-filled blog, I will document the process of exploring the following questions:

  • Can Glass provide people valuable experiences or interactions with the natural world?
  • How can we motivate the public to appreciate and respect the natural world through technology like Glass?
  • How can educators and naturalists use Google Glass and other technologies as a tool to get people outside and embracing nature?

Over time, videos, interviews, and profiles will be added to the website. Blogposts and tweets will document the journey.

Experiencenature.org is dedicated to exploring the intersection of technology and nature for the betterment of society

Emergent technologies are consistently shaping and reframing the way that we perceive the world around us. From the widespread accessibility of the Internet to portability of information that smart phones provide, communication and sharing have reached levels society never before would have been able to imagine. With such devices so commonly embedded amid our lives, helping to direct us, inform us, and interpret the world around us, it is important to stop and ask, “How will this affect us”? Even more, with the continuous literature explaining that time unplugged in nature is a health necessity and with the pressing effects of climate change, we need to also consider what implications these technologies have on our relationship with natural world.