Posted by  on Monday, March 11, 2013 · Leave a Comment

Since Google announced it wearable device project, Google Glass (originally known as Project Glass) not too long ago, gadget fans around the world have been waiting in anticipation of its consumer launch. Well, some gadget fans have waited in anticipation while others humorously mocked the idea.

The augmented reality wearable computer seems to have polarized opinion, but regardless of whether you love or loathe it, Glass is due to be released to the mainstream late this year. As it gains wide user adoption and the technology develops Glass could be used in a health setting too. Here are five ways Glass could be used in digital health.

1. Enhanced surgery

Read Write Web reports on Timothy Lee, a surgical resident at New York University, who proposes “using Glass to record operations for teaching purposes, enable remote assistance via livestream and show the surgeon vitals, CT scan and other pertinent medical information. By tapping into real-time data, reference material and input from live surgeons across the globe, devices like Glass could reduce the number of errors made during surgery.”

2. Touch-free physiological and psychological sensing

Apps like Cardiio, Azumio Stress Check and Philips Vital Signs prove that touch-free sensing is here and becoming more prevalent. This kind of technology would fit easily in to Glass with the difference of not analyzing one’s self but the people who you come in to contact with. You could be speaking with a loved one and instantly know if they were stressed or their heart rate is too high.

EI Technologies has developed app called Xpression which senses for telltale changes in a person’s voice that indicate whether they are in one of five emotional states: calm, happy, sad, angry or anxious/frightened. Integrating this technology in to Glass is not a stretch of the imagination and brings empathy to a new level.

3. Nutrition Analysis

MyFitnessPal’s app includes a useful barcode scanner allowing users to input the nutritional data of the food they’ve used by scanning the item. The Eatery App by Massive Health does something similar but relies on third-party feedback to rate the food in terms of how nutritious and healthy it is. Add these two apps together and you have a powerful nutritional analysis using both scientifically calculated nutritional data alongside personal opinion of nutrition enthusiasts.

4. Performance Data

Technology is embedding its way in to all kinds of sports equipment. Airwave, the digital ski goggles by Oakley which provide jump analytics that show distance, height and airtime, with additional sensor information includes altitude, speed and vertical descent data, all the while connected to an app via Bluetooth. LifeBeam, which is currently raising funding on Indigogo, is a cycling helmet which is being developed by technologists in the aerospace and defense industry gives a constant measure of a cyclist’s heart rate as they wear it.

Glass could provide this very same data and, in theory, data from other sports and fitness activities quite simply.

5. Skin Care Diagnostics

Already there are apps that diagnose a range of skin conditions from analyzing moles that are potentially cancerous (though controversially and 3 out of 4 inaccurately) to less serious dermatological problems like rashes and fungus to the more vain issue of identifying which make-up works best for your skin. The technology is here already and is only getting better and using Glass to analyze the human skin for a range of reasons is entirely feasible.

How else can Glass be used in a digital health setting?


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