There’s a side to augmented reality that we don’t usually get to see as wearable tech ‘civilians’. AR is on the road to changing healthcare, and one of its pioneers is Indiana surgeon Paul Szotek.
Szoetk’s introduction to augmented reality was familiar, though. After searching for some new glasses for his wife back in 2012, Google’s ad algorithm worked its magic and started firing adverts his way for the recently announced Project Glass.
Most of us deliberately ignore these ads, but this one ended up changing the direction of his career.
“I clicked on it and wrote one of these stories, If I had Glass this is what I’d do,” says Szotek. “The idea was to put it on the emergency medical services so you’d get real-time update information on the scene, and send the information back to the medical centre and have a two-way interaction between the field provider as well as the in-hospital providers.”
The inspiration makes a bit more sense when you hear Szotek wasn’t just a doctor in a GP surgery. “I happened to be one of the trauma guys for the Indianapolis speedway at the time,” he says. That’s the home of the Indy 500, where cars race at upwards of 200mph.
He commissioned custom Glass software that enabled video streaming between headsets on the scene and the local medical centre. “I worked with them to do a pilot study where we got four pairs of Glass and put them on the four corners of the track, and built the software to be able to stream the live event from the scene to the medical centre as well as the hospital.”
It proved an interesting test ground, not just because of the “speed, fire and crashes” that can happen at a race track, but the connectivity problems of competing with the 200,000 people in the stands.
Image Credit: Andrew Williams/Wareable