The hardware of Google Glass itself is a wonder of miniaturization : a forward-facing 5-megapixel camera, hands-free high-definition video control, and a small prism that presents the wearer with an effect of looking at a 25-inch monitor as seen from 7 or 8 feet away.
While it has already been used in orthopedic and gastrointestinal surgeries, the University of California at San Francisco is the first to receive IRB approval for use of Google Glass during cardiothoracic surgery. Already, Pierre Theodore, MD, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UCSF, has performed 10 of 15 planned surgeries using Google Glass.
Such is the interest in Google Glass that last week Theodore was a star speaker at Salesforce.com's "Unusual Thinkers" annual conference track, and he spoke to a packed house of several hundred.
Theodore showed a photo of one of UCSF's most advanced operating rooms, and noted with some irony that the 48-inch monitor provided for surgeons to review radiographic images was in a corner of the operating room, behind two anesthesia monitors and a storage unit. "It's not pointing towards the surgeon, so its overall accessibility at the point of care is limited," Theodore explained.
To use Glass, Theodore's team transferred these images to a secure Web site, taking care to remove all personal health information from the images before transfer. At a surgeon's voice command, Google Glass displays the image.