Google Glass in the Operating Room

Since its inception, Google Glass has been a curiosity among surgical technologists and other individuals in the healthcare industry. Many doctor’s officers and healthcare facilities have incorporated the technology in their daily operations. In September, a surgical team at the University of Alabama at Birmingham became the first to perform surgery using a virtual augmented reality technology called VIPAAR in conjunction with Google Glass.

The combination of the two technologies can be a vital step in the development of useful and practical telemedicine. VIPAAR stands for Virtual Interactive Presence in Augmented Reality and is a UAB-developed technology that provides real-time, two-way, interactive video conferencing.

During the surgery, a doctor in Birmingham was able to perform operation while another doctor in Atlanta observed. The two doctors were able to interact with each other, with the doctor performing the surgery actually being able to see the ghostly image of the observing doctor’s hands in his heads-up display.

The two surgeons were able to discuss the case in a truly interactive fashion. Physicians believe this type of technology can greatly enhance patient care by allowing veteran surgeons to remotely provide their expertise to less experienced surgeons. The VIPAAR technology allows the remote physician to point out anatomy, provide guidance and even demonstrate the proper positioning of instruments.

Pleased with the results of their interactive collaboration, the doctors believe this is one more step in the technology evolutionary ladder.