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Google Glasses and Medical Applications

Google Glasses and Medical Applications

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Dr. Zeldes recently tested Google glasses to explore the possibilities of medical applications.  He was among the first physicians in the world to test and use Google Glass – a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display.

Dr. Jennifer Ware, an assistant professor in MSU’s School of Journalism is one of thousands of individuals chosen to beta test the Google Glasses.  I would like to give a big thanks to her, for allowing my family and I to experience this technological innovation.

And it was an experience!  I was impressed.  The glasses were lightweight, comfortable and easily portable.  As you can see from the pictures, the glasses have one ocular in the right lens with a small screen in the upper right. The right side of the glasses or the arm of the frames is used as a keypad for scrolling.  Like Siri, the glasses respond to simple commands like “take a picture,” or “take video.” The photos and video are good quality.

I believe Google Glasses could make an impact in medicine, particularly in ophthalmology through:

  • Improving communication with patients while accessing electronic health records simultaneously:  Currently records are on a laptop or desktop computer. There would be an improvement in communication to be able to access the record without being distracted by a computer screen and having to log on different computers.  Google Glasses would allow a lightweight, portable option to accessing records.  An advantage in a busy clinic setting or rounding in the hospital.
  • Imaging:  Accessing a previous exam in either a photo or video format would allow simultaneous viewing of a previous and current exam.  With the addition of a second ocular or projector, this can be 3 dimensional.  This has ophthalmic applications viewing previous slit lamp exams or retinal exams.  The Google glass can be used for simultaneously viewing of a patient’s MRI, CT scan or X-ray while performing a physical exam or a surgical procedure.
  • Viewing vitals during surgery:  A surgeon can simultaneously view a patient’s vital signs while performing surgery.
  • Teaching:  A 3 D video can be used for teaching purposes.  Such as viewing surgery.
  • I was hoping to find low vision applications for the glasses, though the screen was much to small for someone with low vision to use. 
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