A recent publication has come out highlighting a new use for Google Glass.

The article, titled “Google Glass for Documentation of Medical Findings: Evaluation in Forensic Medicine,” was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR).

While some publications have been released highlighting the use of Glass in clinical practice, this study is one of the first to actually test it as a substitute to standard practice.

The investigators tested Glass as a means of conducting post-mortem examinations and autopsies.

While the normal course of such investigations typically utilize photography to capture images from the investigations, this can often be a hindrance in terms of productivity. The investigators realized that Glass may pose a possible hands-free method of collecting similar data.

Main outcomes of the study were to elucidate whether the images captured compared to standards of practice. This was done by comparing the results and evaluation by other practitioners. The results are promising, and demonstrate that the images may be a suitable replacement for the currently used technology.

However, several issues became present in the investigations. For one, the lack of a zoom function meant the participants had to at times get closer to the body than preferred. Secondly, battery life on Glass was limited and could be a barrier for long term use. It must be noted that the iteration of Glass utilized is still the Explorer edition. Future versions may have a better camera and battery life to make up these shortfalls.

What the authors did not test that I believe could have been addressed was the audio recording portion of the exams. Could Glass have also been used to record the audio comments made by the participants during the course of their exam? It seems that would have been beneficial as well. Lastly, students noted that the use of Glass may be useful for educational purposes, with the ability to broadcast such evaluations for their own learning experience from the first person perspective. Similarly training surgeons could gain important perspective on performing very narrow field procedures or conversely be supervised more closely by senior surgeons.

While Glass is new to the field of medicine and has found a place in initial surgical procedures, this study offers a new novel use. The question becomes, then, will we start seeing CSI incorporating Glass into their shows now?

Albrecht UV, von Jan U, Kuebler J, Zoeller C, et al.Google Glass for Documentation of Medical Findings: Evaluation in Forensic Medicine. J Med Internet Res 2014;16(2):e53