When I first got into the industry, I was always struck by the "Guru" system. On every hazmat team that's been around the block, there's one guy who is the Guru. "What's the minimum distance for an Ammonia leak?" "Call the Guru." "Is fluorine absorbed through the skin?" "Call the Guru" "What's this tingly feeling?" "Go to the hospital."
There's always one guy on a team who has lived through it, who has seen it all, or who has every answer. We're fast approaching the day when we'll no longer need him, and he can sit where he belongs: In the lunchroom, telling the new guys about the good old days when they didn't have air packs and just held their breath.
Google Glass is the product that I believe will do this. If you haven't checked out Google Glass yet, it's time you do. We're talking a sleek interface that is barely noticeable, doesn't obstruct your view, responds to voice commands and visual stimulus, and can provide information within seconds.
"Ok Glass (the command phrase to wake Google Glass up and tell it you're about to issue a command), what is the lower explosive limit of Methane?" "5.0%"
"Ok Glass, what does this symbol mean?" "Compressed Gas Not otherwise Specified"
"Ok Glass, send video back to the command truck."
Imagine Incident Commanders who have a live video feed of everyone on their team, seeing what they see. Imagine responders who have a wealth of information at their fingertips, capable of taking photos and videos, getting instant information on chemical symbols and situations. It's a reality that Google Glass will soon be revealing, and I'm excited for it.
What are some uses you see for Google Glass in the hazardous materials response fields? If you haven't already, check out http://www.google.com/glass/start/ or https://plus.google.com/+projectglass/posts.