July 29, 2015
Written By Special Guest Blogger Dr. Rafael Grossmann
As the first surgeon who ever used Glass in the Operating Theater, I had the distinct honor and pleasure to witness the next version of Glass and chat with Google about it, as well as to provide some of my thoughts and insights about the future edition of the smart glasses. Although I am limited by a non-disclosure agreement, I wanted to offer my view of what the future of the device should be like, and especially propose what I believe would be absolute “winner” features.
Google Glass v2 needs to be:
- Easy to connect to WiFi networks, even unsecured ones. Cellular connectivity, even with a weak signal, should be a must as well. Imagine that we need to do a remote teleconsultation or check online information “in the middle of nowhere”…
- It must be a rugged piece of hardware, water-proof or very water-resistant, and able to tolerate field conditions no matter the type of field. Think of doctors from Medecins Sans Frontieres using smart glasses at their remote sites. The “glass” cube screen needs to be scratch resistant, as well.
- It must be portable and easy to carry and store. Yes, foldable and pocket-friendly!
- Obviously, it must have great battery life. No power, no show! And when the battery dies, it should be easy and quick to recharge. Think solar power, an ergonomic charging cable and port. Wireless charging capability would indeed be a very “Google-like’ move.
- Better and faster processor. And better screen resolution and definition. (Google, please take a look at the ODG)
- Sturdy case. Hint: I love the G-Form material!
- The camera and screen definition should be better than the competitors, please.
- I really liked the “bone-conduction feature”* for the audio, and that should be in addition to speakers so that one can choose. (*The 1st edition of Glass allowed for sound to conduct via the user’s skull bones, so there was no need for speakers. The downside of this fantastic idea was that sound was limited when background noise was excessive.)
- Wink or voice command to zoom in or out. This is really important in the OR, so that the user does not have to get closer to the target image, only aim at it. For instance, imagine a surgeon looking at an open abdomen, streaming the view via Glass: the fine detail of that zoomed-out view might not look clear to the remote viewers. Being able to zoom in would allow a much more defined target view for the virtual (remote) viewers.
- Superb voice activation/recognition, as in version 1. Ok, Glass?! It would be amazing if ONLY the owner’s voice (or fingerprint) would turn on the device, as a security feature.
- Affordable. Despite the enterprise being the target with v2, an extremely expensive device will not be easy to market, especially with a few, very good competitors out there. In healthcare, if the device proves to be adequate, it will entail a massive investment to make it the standard device to carry on most “connected” tasks; but the cost investment will always be a first obstacle.
- It has to be open-source. I’m just a surgeon but the way I see it, the coders out there need to have a workable, friendly platform in order to write their “spells” so we can do some amazing “magic” with smart glasses!
- Bring back the Google Hangout capability! In healthcare, if we think about telemedicine / telementoring / teleconsults; remote, virtual presence is an essential tool. Make it easy to have a real-time video chat. HIPAA compliance is a must for anything related to medicine, at least in the US, and that could be a limiting factor. While there are several software platforms out there that offer video apps that are compliant, it would be great to not have to get a third-party app.
- Last but not least (in fact, one of the most important features in healthcare, especially for surgery) is the ability to “drive” the device, to manipulate the menus in a touch-free manner. Imagine Minority Report, the popular 2002 movie which depicted the manipulation of a digital screen with just hand gestures. Believe it or not, there are smart glasses out there that already do this; and Atheer Labs is the company behind them.
Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS is a General, Trauma, Advanced Laparoscopic and Robotic surgeon, as well as one of the earliest Google Glass Explorers in the world, and a Telemedicine and mHealth innovator. As a FutureMed / Singularity University alumnus and faculty member, Dr. Grossmann’s passion lies in the intersection of Innovation Technology and Healthcare. Dr. Grossmann will give the Day 2 Keynote at EWTS ’15, sharing his story as the First Doctor to Use Glass during Live Surgery.