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Google Glass breaks into the operating room

Dr. Rafael Grossmann, a surgeon at Eastern Maine Medical Center, used Google Glass , to do the first surgical procedure using the widely hyped new technology, before it is released to the general public later this year or in early 2014.

Google Glass is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project.

The wearable computer displays information in a hands-free format that can interact with the Internet via voice commands and is designed to record film, take pictures, search the Internet and translate language without obstructing the user’s vision.

While performing the surgical procedure – the insertion of a feeding tube (PEG) into the patient's abdomen, Grossman simultaneously streamed and recorded the surgery - from his point of view- through the Glass and then to his own dedicated and accessible Google Hangout account and to an iPad located in the operating room.

Grossmann applied to become a Google Glass Explorer and was one of 8,000 developers and consumers chosen by Google earlier this year as to test the device before its release.

Grossman explained on his blog– in a post titled ‘Glass, hand me the scalpel’ – that he “took every measure to ensure the privacy of the patient’s health information ” and “obtained informed consent and made sure that no recording or transmission of any identifying information was done.”

“By performing and documenting this event, I wanted to show that this device and its platform, are certainly intuitive tools that have a great potential in Healthcare, and specifically for surgery, could allow better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potentiate remote medical education, in a very simple way,” continued Grossman.

Just 24 hours later a Spanish surgeon, Dr. Pedro Guillén, at Madrid's Cemetro Clinic also used Google Glass to record a chondrocyte transplant - a procedure that treats cartilage injuries - on the knee on a 49-year old man, and the procedure was streamed to 150 doctors in the United States, Europe, and Australia.

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