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Surgeon Uses Google Glass During ACL Operation

by Brandon Russell | September 2, 2013September 2, 2013 8:00 pm PST

Google Glass is supposed to change how normal people interact with their soul-sucking smartphones. But are there any applications beyond that? In addition to life-logging and toys for the NBA, one surgeon at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center apparently believes Google’s face computer is a valuable tool for live surgery—and the medical field in general. And hopefully not because the technology allows you to browse the Web hands-free.

While performing ACL surgery on 47-year-old Paula Kobalka, Dr. Christopher Kaeding live-streamed the entire procedure through a Google Hangout, giving medical students the opportunity to remotely experience the event. Kaeding said he’s starting to appreciate what Glass offers, the connectedness, and how it allows him to both audibly and visually communicate in realtime.

“This could have huge implications, not only from the medical education perspective, but because a doctor can use this technology remotely, it could spread patient care all over the world in places that we don’t have it already,” said Ryan Blackwell, one of the students who witnessed the surgery.

Many of Glass’ current applications deal with everyday situations—getting directions, snapping pictures, recording video. And by all accounts it may succeed at changing how people communicate. But seeing the technology put to use in the medical field like this seems far more practical, especially if it’s used as a teaching tool. During surgery, doctors might be able to call up X-rays, MRI images, pathology reports and even reference material.

Glass is still in its infancy, and there’s still much work to be done until it really fulfills Google’s vision of wearable technology. Though if it’s already being used for the betterment of mankind. I think Google has already succeeded in creating something worthwhile, even if it’s in an unexpected way like live-streaming surgery—and collaborating with an off-site colleague at the same time.

OhioStateUniversity CNET

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell likes to rollerblade while listening to ACDC.