Depending on whom you talk to, Google Glass is either the next essential digital tool, think iPhone, or the newest toy for the ultimate geek, i.e., the Segway. Whatever you think of Glass, the wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display is poised to revolutionize healthcare.
Worn by doctors in the operating theater, Glass can provide vital information without surgeons taking their eyes off the patient. At Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center, ten clinicians are using Glass to call up CT and X-ray images while performing various surgical procedures.
For less critical applications, the Glass app OneDX interfaces with wearable medtech devices. Glass-wearing physicians can access output from patient’s devices transmitting information through the Internet. Those using Glass can also call up medical reports, exam schedules and other patient information.
Glass can also be used to save physicians time when dealing with electronic health records. Studies show doctors spend from 30 to 50 percent of their time working on computers to document EHR. With clinical apps currently being developed, doctors will be able to retrieve and input EHR information using Glass.
In the near future, Glass will provide independence to people with numerous medical conditions. Those suffering from hearing or vision loss, memory issues, or diseases like Parkinson’s will use the devices to prompt them while walking, warn them of hazards, remind them to take meds, and contact relatives and responders in emergencies.
The startup company Sension, developed by 18-year-old Stanford student Catalin Voss, is marketing a facial recognition app for Glass. It was originally designed for education and games but it can recognize emotions such as a frown, a smile and raised eyebrows. Voss, who has an autistic cousin, realized the app can be used to help him identify emotions in others.
On a more playful note, Glass can transport wearers to an augmented reality when exercising. When development is complete on the Race Yourself app, it will allow joggers to race against virtual projections of friends or celebrities. They can monitor time, calories burned, and their position, all the while running from rolling boulders or blood-thirsty zombies