Google Glass as a medical tool?

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

med students
Medical students observe the surgery, courtesy of Google Glass!

When I heard about Google Glass, I thought it was a cool gadget… at first. The device looks just like regular glasses, except instead of having lenses, there is a screen over the right eye. A wearer can change what’s displayed on the screen simply by using their voice. The glasses can connect to the internet, send messages, take pictures and video, and even recognize faces!

I actually wanted them until I found out they would cost thousands of dollars! I have most of those features on my smartphone, so why would I want to spend all that cash to do it on my face? Well, a surgeon from Ohio State University (OSU) found it very useful in saving lives!

Dr. Christopher Kaeding – the co-director of sports medicine at OSU – wore the high-tech glasses during surgery and streamed the live video to colleagues and medical students all the way across town! Usually, students want to watch an ongoing operation, but since doctors and medical assistants get in the way of the camera so many times, it’s difficult to see what the surgeon is actually doing.

The video Kaeding sent, however, was from a first person point-of-view, so it was like looking through the eyes of the surgeon. According to the medical students who watched the video, it was much easier to see what was going on without limbs in the way. “To have the opportunity to be a medical student and share in this technology is really exciting,” said Ryan Blackwell, a second-year medical student who watched the surgery on a laptop. “This could have huge implications, not only from the medical education perspective, but because a doctor can use this technology remotely, it could spread patient care all over the world in places that we don’t have it already.”

Kaeding also mentioned that the eyewear wasn’t bothersome at all. “By the time I finished the surgery it was quite comfortable,” said Kaeding, who performed the surgery on a 47-year-old woman who had injured her knee playing softball. “I was impressed by how quickly you adjust to it.”

The university personnel explained that Google Glass could be used to look at X-rays and collaborate face-to-face with doctors all over the world. I just hope the surgeon turns off the facial recognition feature so the patient’s Facebook page doesn’t pop up halfway through surgery!

Images and video courtesy of Ohio State University.