Physicians in (Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center) emergency department are in the midst of a pilot project using heavily modified versions of Glass to look up patient records. Emergency physician Steve Horng is spearheading the project, which offers Glass to all physicians in the department. “Emergency medicine is a very information-intensive specialty where even small nuggets of information available immediately really matter,” he says. “Having information one minute earlier can actually be quite life-saving.”
The experiment is one of many tests to see if face-worn computers can be beneficial for workers who need fast access to small amounts of information without taking their hands or even their full gaze away from other tasks. These efforts hint at the potential benefits, as well as the remaining challenges, of wearable computing in general.
Google isn’t the only company offering devices that meet these needs. For example, Epson sells a pair of goggles that help nurses see veins through a patient’s skin, and Vuzix produces head-mounted displays for the defense industry that can identify friendly forces and more (see “Hands-On with the Vuzix M100, a Google Glass Competitor”).