Monday, August 26, 2013

Google Glass might save your life

Health care and emergency medicine are topping the list of ways people hope to improve their work with Google Glass.

Imagine an emergency medical professional arriving on the scene of a terrible car accident. He’s running, lugging equipment, assessing the crisis to get to injured passengers. Without interrupting his standard and precise routine, he’s already sending images to emergency doctors and hospital staff. Based on that sharing of information, he can listen to a physician—located just about anywhere—talk him through any sensitive care procedures appropriate for that moment. The emergency medical professional never has to pick up a camera or put a phone to his ear. His hands are free to save lives. As this is going on, nurses and emergency room staff get notification to prepare for a patient to arrive by ambulance, with a clear understanding of the patient’s condition.

Even for more routine medical care, not a crash scene, doctors are testing ways to improve patient care with Google Glass, and specialized apps are in development for physicians. Doctors capturing images and sharing information? How could that possibly comply with strict HIPAA laws around health information privacy? One physician who used Google Glass during actual surgery got consent first, and then, while wearing Glass, he gave full attention to his patient and the procedure. He proved that live monitoring could be done. “Specifically for surgery, this could allow better intra-operative consultations, surgical mentoring and potential remote medical education, in a very simple way,” the surgeon explained. He did it without showing the patient’s face or revealing personal health information. (And, software developers are tackling the privacy issue to take away that problem in the future).

Forget the ER or OR. How can Glass help a person on the street? An app in development would talk you through CPR if you find yourself in a situation to help someone having a heart attack. The technology of Glass with interactive instruction seems almost too easy. Glass’s camera would detect the strength of the person’s pulse. Then music would start—“Staying Alive,” which offers exactly the right pace for chest compression. The gyroscope in Glass would determine whether compressions are adequate. While all this is going on, Glass would call 911 for you with your GPS location and also send a message to the nearest hospital to be prepared.

That’s impressive, but that’s not all. Glass could live-stream the resuscitation effort to medical professionals from the point of view of the person administering CPR, and they could provide that person coaching and direction until help arrives.

And then, it’s only a matter of time perhaps before all hospital staff would be wearing Glass, too, for information exchange and notification. For the rest of us, doing perhaps less intense daily work, we can consider that the same technology that makes such a difference at a hospital will be in our own hands at minimal cost. What will you do with Google Glass at work? 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Will employers say, “OK, Glass”?

People exploring ways to use Google Glass have to face the question: Can I use it at work? Companies big enough to have codified their HR policies or industries with privacy regulations are having to ask the other side of the question: Should Glass be allowed in the workplace?

Clay R. went straight to the human resources department at his company the first day he had Glass. He wanted to let HR know he had them and warn them that some of his coworkers might complain. “Their response was, ‘Why would anyone complain about THAT? It’s so cool!!!’ And then they all wanted to try it.”

Homer G. asked and received permission from the legal department where he works to wear Glass around the office on the basis that there is no policy to prevent people from carrying cell phones around the office. However, he had to agree not to record any meetings. The company actually has legal policies in place that prohibit recording devices in meetings.

Nick S. actually wrote out a six-page document to address each privacy concern he thought HR might have to his wearing Glass at work. “In the end, they stated it wasn’t the privacy issue. It was the unknown liability if I were to fall down a flight of stairs while using it.”

So consider these lessons:
o   Ask first. 
o   Share coolness.  
o   Follow rules.
o   Don’t fall.

You can get GAZE FURTHER directly to Glass by subscribing at SimpleWing.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

See what it does, then put it to work

Let’s be honest. Not all the buzz about Google Glass is good. That camera above the right eye—that’s just weird. “Can you really X-ray my purse?”

The reality is that Glass is monumentally less damaging to privacy than most smartphones at this point. People, though, are used to phones with cameras, while this—it’s an invasion of privacy.

Chris F. was told Glass wasn’t allowed when he entered a store in downtown Grand Rapids. “The kid working there seemed really surprised and super nervous about telling me they were not allowed,” he said.

With edginess like that, it’s time to explain. “After showing him that he could clearly see if I was recording by looking at the [eyepiece] prism, he dropped the subject and we continued on with our business.”

A restaurant manager asked Brian K. to take off his Glass. Brian pushed back: “I asked if she could disable the security cameras while I was in there, as it only seemed fair. She told me that turning off her cameras wasn’t an option she wanted to discuss.”

He switched his approach to one of informing and offered to show her everything that Glass could do besides video, even attracting people who may be in the neighborhood near her restaurant. “She was amazed,” Brian reported. “I think I am now her favorite customer.”

It wasn’t just a place of business but his own employer where Jared H. faced apprehension. “Some co-workers tried to prevent me from wearing them at work altogether. Luckily, one of my co-workers took up the cause and politely explained they were no different than a smartphone, and smartphones were perfectly fine to have at the office,” he recounted.

It’s logical that people who have seen impressive photos and video taken with Glass could think that’s what it exists to do: video surveillance. Right now, one by one, Glass wearers are disproving that concern. Next step: Make it easy to share information at work with wearable computing. That will really catch people’s attention about Glass on the job.