Google Glass can save lives in Herstal
Google Glass was launched as a very promising device some years ago, but it was a commercial disaster. Not so in the professional world: in a hospital in Belgian Herstal it even saves lives.
Google Glass would make our daily live so much easier, that was the promise when a prototype was launched in 2013. But the portable minicomputer integrated in wearable glasses was a big commercial flop. Sales to individual buyers has been stopped.
But in the professional world the thing is alive and kicking. Aircraft producer Boeing uses it to assemble planes more accurately, in the André Renard hospital in Herstal (near Liège, Belgium) they use Google Glass to offer better care.
Since April of this year Google Glass is present in every ambulance, so medical aids can have direct contact, from the place of the accident, with a doctor in the emergency unit of the hospital. They don’t have to take a mobile phone, they just put Google Glass on their nose and the doctor can see through their eyes.
“It’s particularly useful when people have breathing problems,” says Benoît Cardos, head of the urgent care service at the hospital. “There are different reasons to have these problems and now the medic doesn’t have to describe it by phone, the doctor can see the problem together with him, live.” The doctor sees the images on his computer but can also transfer them to his smartphone.
In one third of the cases Google Glass has proven its efficiency since in use. André Renard is a small hospital and the ambulance is used approximatively 8 times a day. “We don’t claim Google glass has actually saved lives,” adds head medical aid Arnaud Biemar, “but in urgent matters every minute counts and these glasses help us to win them.”
Police and fire brigade
The little hospital tried to do the same thing earlier on with al little camera, but the transmission of the images wasn’t very good. Doctor Cardos found a French company who could finetune the glasses together with other partners. Now it’s working almost perfectly.
VIAS, the Belgian institute for road safety who has broadened his scope, investigates if Google Glass couldn’t be used for police interventions or urgencies for the fire brigade. Cardos is convinced of the use of his glasses (costing 10.000 €). “I really hope other hospitals will follow our example, it’s very useful.”