The era of wearable technology has arrived and with it came something right out of a sci-fi movie — the Google Glass. This eyeglass-esque computer device was released for trial earlier this year. Participants, called “explorers,” were able to snag a pair for a hefty price of $1,500. During this trial, Google aims to make improvements to the Glass and to finalize a product eligible for mass production. Recent reports say the Google Glass could retail approximately $300 when it finally becomes available to the public.¹
What is the Google Glass?
To put it simply, the Google Glass is a wearable computer. Despite being only about the size of a pair of eyeglasses, the Google Glass comes complete with a mouse, monitor, and camera, but none like most have seen before. The right side of the Glass is a long and narrow touch-sensitive pad that controls screen functions, much like a mouse. Just centimeters away is a small piece of glass that acts as a display monitor. Situated right in front of the wearer’s eye, it offers high resolution graphics, although not quite in full high-definition just yet. Like other recent mobile devices, the Glass comes equipped with an accelerometer which allows the user to take control using motions and gestures. For an official list of what the Google Glass can do, take a look at http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/.
Google Glass in Healthcare
The Google Glass has already made its way into some medical facilities around the world. For instance, a Spanish surgeon conducted the first ever Google Glass-assisted surgery to some 150 doctors across the globe.² Some obvious benefits to this ‘wearable computer device’ include the ability to view patient data at the drop of a hat and the ability to communicate between clinics and medical offices instantaneously with no phones or keyboards required.
Less obvious benefits include improved communication between providers and patients who do not speak the same language. Google already provides an effective and efficient translation service (translate.google.com) and applying this technology to the Google glass could essentially eradicate the problem of being lost in translation, especially when it comes to conversations revolving around health.
Mobile health startups are taking advantage of the new platform as a valuable tool for providers in the clinical setting, seeing the Google Glass as an enterprise device rather than a consumer one.³ Like a tablet device, the Google Glass may well become a staple in medical facilities considering its unbounded potential.
The Google Glass is here. See how it feels at http://www.google.com/glass/start/how-it-feels/.
If you had a Google Glass, what would you use it for? What health applications or capabilities would you like to see on the Google Glass? Would you upgrade your current workplace devices to a Google Glass given the chance? Why or why not? Share your thoughts in the comments below!