One of the more frequent comparators to surgery is that of the commercial airline industry. This is commonly in the areas of safety, systems management, checklists and regulation.
Worthy and all as most of that stuff is, realistically we all prefer Top Gun to Southwest. Now, through the medium of Google Glass surgery is on the verge of adopting a much more exciting aviation innovation - the HUD, or Head Up Display - definitely cooler than a checklist!
HUD technology has been evolving in military aircraft since initial reflector systems were pioneered pre-World War II. In the 1970s HUD began to be introduced into commercial aircraft and is now available in a number of high-end automobiles.
Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) which displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands. Google Glass has Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, a 5 megapixel camera, and an HD capable screen that will recreate an image equivalent to 25 inches. It is currently available to an early adopter program for developers and consumers to test Google Glass, and gauge how people will want to use it.
This technology has a number of exciting possible applications for surgeons. Its ability to stream video opens the possibility of real-time mentoring from a remote viewer, ie. an attending supervising a resident operate from the comfort of his office or home whilst being able to offer advise based on exactly what is being seen by the operating surgeon, or to supervise and feedback on a clinical examination remotely.
Utilizing the HUD display during surgery offers even more exciting possibilities to the surgeon, however. The possibility of using the voice activation to call up and scroll through radiology images, pathology reports etc. without taking eyes from the operating field is an appealing one. Other reference material relating to anatomy, operative technique could also be called upon either from the internet or stored on a mobile device paired with Glass. Calling out “Glass, search how to do a rhinoplasty” in the OR may not inspire a lot of confidence though!
Any other potential surgical applications you see for this technology?