Google Glass, the latest technology released by the search engine and Internet service giant, has caused a stir in the tech-savvy crowd. Essentially a wearable computer built into glasses frames, it has early adopters eagerly paying upwards of $1,500 to experience what many consider the next wave of personal computing, and has others raising questions about privacy issues. In the midst of all this, an unexpected new audience for the new technology has been found: surgeons.
At the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, an orthopedic surgeon recently donned a pair of glasses outfitted with the new technology and proceeded to perform a routine ACL repair. In doing so, he was able to broadcast a live feed of the surgery to colleagues and a handful of medical students via a video conference.
Traditionally, training to become a surgeon involves hours of observation, and sometimes, limited space means that medical students must struggle for optimal views of the procedure. However, with wearable computer technology, fighting for brief glimpses becomes a thing of the past. The live video feed can be received almost anywhere that has an Internet connection, allowing students to get a first-hand look at how a given procedure is done.
Though promising, the technology still needs a few tweaks before it is ready for widespread use in hospitals. To be practical in the operating room, wearable computers would need extensive battery lives, and a more central camera location. But for the next generation of surgeons and the patients they operate on, there is potential for great things to come.