It’s easy to make fun of overly enthusiastic Google Glass early adopters, particularly when they use the computerized headset to take shower selfies. But there are some potential applications for Google Glass that go way beyond the realm of consumer electronics and are genuinely worth getting excited about. Case in point: Fast Company reports that San Francisco-based cardiothoracic surgeon Pierre Theodore has just wrapped up a three-month trial where he used Glass to help him perform complex medical procedures. And the good news is that he says that Google’s device has actually been a help.
For example, Theodore says he was able to use Glass to bring up a patient’s X-rays during surgery that he normally might have had to go into another room to view on a computer. Being able to have immediate access to such valuable medical information “helps confirm your decisions during surgery” and makes the entire process go more smoothly for both patients and physicians, he says.
Theodore does say there is a steep learning curve with Glass, however, and he says that he had trouble getting a consistent Wi-Fi connection in some parts of the hospital. It goes without saying that Glass will need to have strong Wi-Fi connectivity if surgeons plan to use it to assist with complex procedures. Theodore also says that Google still needs to do some work to improve Glass’s voice command recognition, which is something that company has certainly been working on leading up to the device’s release next year.
In the end, Theodore doesn’t expect that Google will make a version of Glass that’s specifically tailored to help surgeons. But if the company’s breakthroughs in wearable computing inspire medical device manufacturers make their own specialized surgery-assisting headsets then that alone could make the entire Glass project worthwhile.