Google Glass makes its splash in orthopedics.

A surgeon uses Google Glass to send live video of a knee surgery. Image from Ohio State University.


August 29, 2013

Are Google Glass and head-mounted displays in general overhyped? The answer depends on who you ask. Interest in Google Glass from the medical field, however, is certainly high. Surgeons in particular see the technology as a game changer for the operating room. Surgeon advocates see the technology as having the potential to give them the ability to have Terminator-like vision, helping to analyze surgical objects and overlay medical scans over the patients’ anatomy, giving them near x-ray vision. Glass can also help with quality control by giving surgeons access to relevant clinical information and enabling them to scroll through checklists without using their hands.

Google Glass recently was used by orthopedic surgeon Christopher Kaeding to take and relay live video of a surgery to a colleague and a group of remote medical students. Kaeding said that, during use, Glass fades into the background; Kaeding forgot he was wearing it several times during surgery, he acknowledged.

“It’s hands-free and voice-activated, so I can keep my hands sterile as a surgeon,” Kaeding was quoted as saying.

Kaeding likes the idea of using Google Glass to look through CT or MRI scans during the surgery—all without having to leave the operating table. It could also be used to keep an eye on vital signs, he says.

App developers are already developing medical software for Google Glass. Shown here is an app designed to help facilitate CPR and the location of a nearby external defibrillator. 

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