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Google Glass surgery: The video

Posting in Technology

I spy with my little eye, a liver AND a digital display of vital signs. 

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Have you been hearing that Google Glass can help surgeons operate, but you can't quite picture how?

Well, you can see clearly now, the video has come.

In case you just arrived from the 17th century, or even from 2011: Google Glass is a set of eye glasses in which the lenses serve as screens that digitally display things to the wearer.

Dutch electronics giant Philips teamed with Dublin-based global consulting firm Accenture (yes, Accenture is Irish) to produce the proof-of-concept film that follows anesthetist Dr. David Feinstien through a mock surgery on a boy with emergency stomach pains.

The two companies also made software that allows Feinstein to keep his eyes peeled on, say, a liver or an intestine (you choose; you could also have a pancreas or even an appendix) while also viewing vital signs like heart rates that pop up on the glasses.

"If you have to turn away to look at the monitor, it makes it a little bit more difficult," Feinstein says. "If someone is that critical that you have to keep on looking, it's nice that with one glance you can find that information again."

Google Glass could also display a patient's medical history, show useful diagrams, and could allow input from other surgeons in remote locations.

These are early days, but Feinstein is clearly impressed as he describes the future arc of the technology: "At first it's going to be cool, and I think as everything develops, it's going to be very practical. It will help make the care of patients go a little bit smoother, and our jobs a little bit easier."

Now, watch Feinstein through the Google Glass. (Good news for the squeamish - no gore was created in the making of this video). More pictures below the clip:

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Reading the patient. Surgeons can see the patient and the vital signs - in this case a low blood oxygen level reading - all in one field of vision.

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So 2012. Before Google Glass, Feinstein would have had no choice other than looking over his right shoulder to see those digits, which are now also floating before his very eyes.

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Eye Eye, Doctor! A close up of Dr. Feinstein and the glasses.

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Video is from Philips and Accenture via YouTube. Photos are screen grabs from the video.

More Dr. Google on SmartPlanet:

— By on October 3, 2013, 2:03 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure