Surgeon calls for a quick consult with Google Glass

Surgeon Brent Ponce wore a Google Glass while operating on a complete shoulder replacement, and used the technology to have a remotely located surgeon sit in and actually be able to guide Brent as he was performing the surgery.  Brent’s Google Glass sent video to his remote colleague, and his colleague sent back a video feed of his hand, which is able to be seen by Brent superimposed over his vision.  This effectively allows for a surgeon in one city to directly supervise a surgery in another city with his/her hands.

This was accomplished using an app made by VIPAAR (, which specializes in using video to allow for remote assistance.  And while the Google Glass isn’t exactly widely available, this sort of technology has potential to be used in a wide variety of fields.  Which begs the question, if we can mimic a surgeon’s hand movements, can anyone perform a surgery with this technology?  Probably not, as there are a lot of intuition and finesse that goes into surgery (I’m guessing), but perhaps other fields can become more accessible.  Could someone remotely learn a song on piano by mimicking hand movements?  Or is the physical presence a necessity?  Technology is allowing for us to interact with each other in increasing degrees, but at what point are we truly becoming disconnected with the physicality of someone’s presence?



4 thoughts on “Surgeon calls for a quick consult with Google Glass

  1. This is a great tool for students of the trade. In the article, the coach was very impressed. He said he didn’t feel like he was breathing down the surgeons neck telling him what to do. If this can be done with something as complex as surgery, what else can be done with this technology? Once google glass is finally a commercial product, who knows what the future will be like. Employees of different backgrounds might be able to learn things they thought that could never be done before. This could be a huge step for training students or new employees predicaments they have never experienced before.

  2. I think this is a very interesting use of Google Glass, and it is refreshing to see it being used for things other than taking pictures or texting. It of course brings about concerns of safety and reliability of the data stream, and who ethically is responsible if something goes wrong during the surgery? That question is of particular interest. Is the surgeon directing the surgery responsible, or the one who’s hand is actually performing the surgery, or some combination?

  3. This article seems to bring up many different questions that are evolving through the use of new technology in fields that have never seen it before. Doctors have always been hands on and now because of technology they can access any doctor anywhere if they seem to have a problem that they cannot figure out. One question I have is what would happen if the software malfunctioned during the surgery and caused more problems? Who would be responsible for the botched surgery, the doctor? Google? This brings up many difficult question that have to be addressed before it becomes widespread.

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