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Google Glass


Photograph: The Federal Communications Commission / Google

As an early Google Glass Explorer, I'm delighted to see the development of Google in 'project Aura' is now really taking off! 

On Monday Oct 28th of 2013,  I performed the first livestream operation for abdominal laparoscopic surgery using Google Glass, directly to YouTube.
Since then, I've been a very enthusiastic explorer of the opportunities of wearable technology, keeping in mind the limitations of this and other devices in the field of healthcare. In fact, WATCH-Society was formed by MD's to discuss opportunities, limitations and challenges to bring forward valid use of wearable technology in healthcare.

Now earlier this year, according to Business Insider and The Wall Street Journal, Google created a new environment for employees working on the discontinued Google Glass: Project Aura.  Ivy Ross, who joined Google's ranks in 2014 to head up the Glass initiative is leading the Aura group and answering to Tony Fadell.

So what can we expect in 2016 for Glass? This Edition of Google Glass seems particularly designed to help us medics in the workplace. The new, rebooted version has a more robust build, a larger glass prism, a faster Intel Atom processor, 5GHz Wi-Fi for more bandwidth-intensive tasks such as video streaming, and a more rugged and waterproof design. Additionally, it and has a hinge that allows it to fold and is built to withstand bumps and bruises. The power button has been moved from its awkward location on the inside to the back of the device, and the front light comes on when the camera is being used. The device is waterproof and closed-off. And do I see a CE-marking printed on the temple? Now there are concerns too. Unfortunately, the camera remains to be placed at the upper outer of the bow next to the prism. For surgeons this is a problem indeed. As surgeons tend to focus on the procedure itself - they are unlikely to focus on 'shooting the optimal footage' for educational or colleagues opinion. Unless the new design is augmented with an angled prism aiming at focus point of the eyes, video footage will be out of center point of the viewing angle. Futhermore, the balance of the device is puzzeling me.

Aside from the upgrades in this Edition, for me it is the next logical step reminding us that professional applications for the device are continuously being built and refined by Google's official Glass at Work partners -many of them particularly focusing on the healthcare market. My team is happily collaborating with French partner AMA Glass, a party that specializes in the medical field with solutions in telemedicine, live-surgery demonstrations, and remote medical training. Besides the official Glass at Work partners focusing on healthcare such as AugmedixPristineWearable Intelligence and the German based firm Ubimax, there are other promising examples of health tech startups -in my perception way beyond the 'explorer phase'.

Surgical aid

Vital Enterprises  embraces smart glass as a way to do hands-free checks of medical images, video, and review checklists. It also focuses on consultations and medical education from the perspective of a surgeon. 

Droiders aims at livestreaming with Droiders Streamers, live to YouTube. This was my favorite solution and the one I was using for livestreaming At this time however, due to YouTube requiring additional coding platform for livestreaming media, use is discontinued. A solution for this is however, on its way.

Other area: First responders / Emergency Room

Dan Herbstman, a speaker at the 2nd WATCH conference in Amsterdam and CEO of  Third Eye Health is focusing on applications for Google Glass in the acute care scenario, so that emergency room physicians can get a more informed understanding of patients and their needs in order to be  better prepared before the patients physically arrives at the hospital.

What do you think is 'in store for us medics'  to empower ourselves and our patients using wearable technology in 2016?

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