Some love it and some hate it, but either way Google’s head-mounted wearable technology, Glass, is increasingly being used by researchers, developers and entrepreneurs in new and innovative ways to improve health and people’s lives.
Here are eight ways Google Glass is disrupting health.
1. Glass in the operating theatre
Glass can help while performing operations as the head-mounted headset can provide vital information without surgeons taking their eye of the patient. A number of examples of where Glass is being used in this way have surfaced including in Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center (BIDMC). One of America’s largest hospitals, the BIDMC has four ER using Glass at work and more than ten clinicians participating in testing it out. Likewise Dr. Pierre Theodore, a cardiothoracic surgeon at the University of California Medical Center uses Glass to re-load CT and X-ray images needed for a procedure and calls them up to the screen display to compare a medical scan with the actual surgical site.
2. Glass to Provide Mobile Access to Patient Images and health information
OneDX, a software platform has developed a Google Glass app that allows physicians to access medical reports, inpatient location and exam scheduling information from the Internet-connected wearable technology. Its optimize PACS interface allowing physicians to quickly download imaging studies, view reports, and schedule exams for patients as part of its mobile app suite, integrating the glasses into the on-the-go software ecosystem. (link)
3. Glass Used to Retrieve Electronic Health Records on the Job
In March this year Augmedix received $3.2 million to build clinical applications for Glass, one of which is to help doctors easily retreave and input information in to a patient’s electronic health record. Augmedix CEO and co-founder,Ian Shakil was quoted in MobiHealthNews saying, “We are going after one of the biggest pain points in healthcare: The fact that doctors spend 30 or 40 or 50 percent of their day on the computer documenting the EHR — toiling away — pushing and pulling information,” Shakil said. “They often do it right in front of the patient — back turned — and typing. Then when the patient leaves even more type, type, type — feeding the beast.”
4. Compete with Yourself and Get Fit with Glass
Race Yourself is an augmented reality app for Glass that allows users to race against a virtual projection of yourself (or friends, celebs and zombies) and beat personal fitness records. The app also allows you to unlock new game modes such as running away from giant rolling boulders. Developed in the UK and now headquartered in San Francisco, the Race Yourself app is still in development but seems like a promising new way to get fit while incoporating a gamification element often need to take you to the next level.
5. A neurofeedback App for Glass
Canadian application developer, Personal Neuro Devices (PND), has developed an app for Glass called Introspect designed to give neuro-feedback to clinicians and caregivers. PND officials in an article in Healthcare IT News said the app “could help passively monitor brain activity, relaying data to physicians to help diagnose and treat conditions such as depression. Another use would be to facilitate adherence to long-term medication therapies, alerting patients to the re-emergence of subtle neuropsychological symptoms, or helping maintain healthy brain function for older adults.”
6. Glass Used in Medical Education
Glass is being touted as a breakthrough tool to help aid medical education by allowing surgeons to live-stream their vantage point over the internet to medical students who can be anywhere in the world. At Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center, Dr. Christopher Keading was on of the first to livestream an operation when performing knee surgery of a 47 year-old woman. Across town a group of medical students saw the event live from a completely different place.
Spanish company Droiders launched an augmented reality app (AR) for Google Glass to simulate surgical procedures for surgeons in training according to ZDNet. MedicAR, combines AR with Google Glass and allows surgeons to replicate skin incisions, parting of the skin, the surgical procedure and then the stitching up of the incision.
7. Google Glass is helping Parkinson’s sufferers
Newcastle University in the UK is developing a new app for Glass to help patients suffering from Parkinson’s to which provides them with prompts while they’re outdoors, contacts relatives in an emergency and has reminders in the user’s field of vision – such as taking their medication when they’re supposed to – to help them live more independently. Dr John Vines of the School of Computing Science at the University said in an interview with the Telegraph, “The beauty of this research project is we are designing the apps and systems for Glass in collaboration with the users so the resulting applications should exactly meet their needs,” said
8. Google Glass Helps People with Autism
Start-up company Sension, developed by an 18 year-old Stanford University student, Catalin Voss, has developed a facial recognition tool initially designed for educational purposes and games. However, Voss soon discovered that as well as tracking faces it could also track emotions too. The software can recognize emotions such as a frown, a smile and raised eyebrows and according to an article in the Huffington Post, “Voss, whose cousin is autistic, saw a light bulb: a tool that could help autistic users identify facial cues in real time.” An autistic user wearing Google Glass with the Sension app could be alerted to other people’s emotional signals.