Greg Freiherr has reported on developments in radiology since 1983. He runs the consulting service, The Freiherr Group.

Blog | July 06, 2012

Project Rad: One Day…

Google is now testing an augmented reality technology called “Glass” that takes what we now click up on our PCs and laptops and projects them into our field of vision as translucent overlays of the reality that surrounds us. The technology is so called because the information is projected on what appears to be clear plastic lenses, worn as glasses.

To promote Glass ahead of its commercial launch, a date for which has not yet been disclosed, Google is offering “Glass Sessions.” These barely do justice to the potential of the technology, as wearers are seen using it as a ubiquitous and unobtrusive video camera that captures moments, for example, between a mom and her newborn child or skydivers as they float toward earth. Google really ought to be working with radiologists.

If ever there was a consumer-driven technology suited to radiology, this is it. The YouTube video “Project Glass: One Day…” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9c6W4CCU9M4) is enough to prompt imagining the radiological possibilities.

The video opens with a wearer donning Glass and activating an array of digital tools. Moments after pouring his morning coffee, he calls up the day’s schedule and checks the weather forecast, chats online and obtains street directions to an address. Before the day is over, he has used Glass to converse over an audio/video link, take a digital snapshot and share it online and dictate an audio reminder for later retrieval.

Just think what a radiologist could do if these tools were customized for calling up worklists, searching references, transmitting and receiving video and medical images, and dictating reports.

An app already exists that searches for information about pictures snapped using handheld devices connected to the Internet. Take a picture of a famous landmark, for example, and your Web-ready smart phone and this app, called Google Goggles, will search the Web for information about it.

Customized for radiology, Google Goggles might search out magnetic resonance (MR) or computed tomography (CT) images similar to the one being interpreted and provide case studies that might help in making a diagnosis. Integrate this with a customized version of Glass and you could have the whole package — the means to receive and send images, analyze them, consult on cases and dictate reports. But why stop there?

Again with consumers as their intended audience, software developers at the Magic Vision Lab in Australia are building an app called X-Ray Vision (http://www.magicvisionlab.com/projects/mars/). This app fades away the exteriors of buildings to reveal what’s inside.

Imagine a referring physician listening through a stethoscope or palpating an area for signs of disease, while viewing radiological images projected into a cutaway for the region of interest in that patient. 

You might say “perhaps one day.” Wouldn’t it be great if it were “soon.”


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