J.S. Rajkumar, a laparoscopic surgeon in Chennai, India, performed two operations this week while wearing Google Glass, and says he believes the technology could help rural surgeons.
"As you operate you can webcast to three or four senior surgeons sitting in Chennai, Delhi or Hyderabad and we would be able guide those rural surgeons," Rajkumar told the Wall Street Journal. "Its implications are huge."
The wearable wi-fi computer projects images in a small clear cube in front of the eye, making it appear as a 25-inch screen about eight feet away to avoid obstructing normal vision.
The user can issue voice commands beginning "OK, Glass," and tap or swipe the frame to navigate menus.
Rajkumar, chairman of the Lifeline Group of Hospitals, performed the surgeries during a Google Hangout. They were recorded by the device and streamed live to a group of surgeons and medical students blocks away.
Because Google Glass can improve the transparency of medical care, Rajkumar says most patients don't mind being filmed for a live stream.
Currently, about 12,000 so-called explorers are using Glass in the United States. Rajkumar partnered with a Virginia-based mobile software applications developer Nasotech LLC to access Glass. They also developed an application to allow uninterrupted video streaming for more than 30 minutes.
The healthcare uses for Google Glass are probably not lost on the company, which this week announced a major investment in Calico, a health project addressing aging and disease.
Rajkumar believes rural hospitals in India should adopt Glass as cost-effective and minimally disruptive technology. “All we need is connectivity,” he said.