The wearable headsets project a voice-activated computer interface over your field of vision, allowing you to see an "augmented reality" with all kinds of data projected in front of your eyes without lifting a finger.
Google Glass will likely be commercially available by the end of 2013, and while Google's advertising for the augmented reality device thus far has focused on the social uses of its features, the technology is likely to have far-reaching applications for personal healthcare and professional medicine.
Since the technology was announced last year, the Internet has been buzzing with possible applications of Google Glass features that could change everyday life. Until last week, Google asked users to propose applications for Project Glass with the crowd-sourced campaign #IfIHadGlass, which delivered some fascinating ideas.
Here are some Google Glass medical uses that can revolutionize your healthcare in the years to come, compiled from Google Plus.
Personal Healthcare: Personal applications of Google Glass features could help all users make healthier choices and track their own health, and make the world easier to navigate for people with disabilities.
1) Smarter Shopping. Instantly looking up nutrition information about foods while shopping at the grocery store or supermarket could help you make healthier, personalized choices-- especially if you have dietary restrictions.
2) Diet Tracking. Visual recognition apps can track what and how much you eat and drink, counting calories and creating a profile of your diet that can give suggestions when you're not eating as well as you want to be.
[Credit: Jeff MacFarland via Google+]
3) Better Cooking. While following recipes, you can get health tips and instant visual feedback throughout the cooking process.
[Credit:Amy Roberts via Google+]
4) Personal Fitness. Apps can track your progress throughout a workout and create a long-term profile of your fitness. Sensors can track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure, and measure your distance when you're exercising outdoors.
5) Exercise Feedback. A visual overlay could let you follow along with new exercises, and compare your movements during a workout to the optimal physical range of motion.
6) Health Profiles. With additional sensors, apps can track physiological markers of stress, alertness, and heart health like blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, blood sugar, and urine that you can monitor yourself, and also show your doctor at check-ups. Apps like SleepCycle for sleep health and UChek for urine analysis already exist - Google Glass can integrate the data.
7) Health Warnings. Patients with conditions like diabetes or abnormal heart rhythms could get warnings that it's time to see a doctor when sensors indicate that their biological markers (like blood sugar or heart rate) are reaching potentially dangerous levels.
8) Medication Information. Patients confused about their prescription drug instructions could easily look them up and avoid mixing up medications.
[Credit: Lily Bradley via Google+]
9) Navigation. Getting around in unfamiliar surroundings would be much easier with virtual sign overlays and visual maps superimposed over the field of vision, or audio feedback-- helpful if you have visual disabilities, or are just easily distracted.
[Credit: Daniel Oechsner via Google+]
10) Visual Handicaps. Users with visual handicaps could benefit from optical character recognition and text-to-speech conversion that translates print materials into their ears.
11) Auditory Handicaps. Users with auditory handicaps could use speech-to-text conversion to translate other's speech into words they can read - instant subtitles for everyday life.
12) Physical Disabilities. Children with physical disabilities could more easily express themselves and easily access information.
Providing Healthcare for Medical Professionals: Medical uses of Google Glass features could help doctors and healthcare professionals access data in real time, easily collaborate with colleagues, and get instant feedback to improve the efficiency and quality of patient care.
1) Virtual Medicine. Doctors could check on patients remotely with live video feeds, which could make treatment much more convenient for immobile patients, or ones in regions without easy access to healthcare facilities. Telemedicine could make an enormous difference in developing countries, and make doctors much more mobile.
2) Patient Reference. Doctors could immediately access a patient-personalized stream of information from their electronic databases while examining patients. Instant access to reference materials could let physicians look up obscure conditions and provide accurate care.
3) Drug Information. While deciding what medications to prescribe, physicians could look up drug interactions and contraindications based on the patient's medical history. [Watch a Google+ user video]
4) Diagnosing Patients. Visual recognition apps could recognize visible symptoms and help doctors make informed diagnoses. A new technique amplifies minute visual changes in a person's skin color to indicate pulse changes; other groundbreaking features will surely be available to doctors in a matter of time:
5) Medical Feedback from Specialists. Images of strange visible symptoms could be sent to specialists, who could provide immediate input.
6) Video and Audio Archives. Doctors could record and instantly transcribe conversations with patients for future reference - an easy fix for doctors' notoriously bad handwriting.
7) Patient Education. Medical professionals can overlay x-ray and MRI scans over patients' bodies, so they and their families can easily understand the locations of ailments.
[Credit: Mozziyar Etemadi via Google+]
8) Translating. Instant translation could allow doctors and patients to communicate across language barriers.
[Credit: Inno W. Borders via Google+]
9) Home Care. Visiting nurses could record sessions with homebound patients, to be reviewed by physicians who can provide feedback as necessary.
10) Emergency Medicine. EMTs wearing Glass could send live video feeds to on-call emergency room physicians, who could prepare to treat patients before they arrive and provide remote diagnosis, assessment, and instructions before and during patient transport. [Watch a Google+ user video]
11) Surgery Education. Surgeons could use Glass to record operations from their visual perspective for teaching purposes, and trainees could use it for surgical simulations before their first operations.
12) Surgery Visual Feedback. Surgeons could see real-time patient data like vital signs and CT scans as they operate, and get feedback about their progress to improve outcomes [Watch a Google+ user video].
[Credit: Philip Chung via Google+]
Augmented reality could smoothly guide the flow of surgical procedures.
13) Remote Surgery Assistance. Surgeons could get remote assistance from other surgeons and medical assistants watching a live feed of the surgery.
14) Physical Therapy. Physical therapists could record patient sessions over time to track patient's progress, and overlay an ideal range of motion during sessions.
And that's not all-- according to the Telegraph, Google researchers are already working on "smart" augmented reality contact lenses with features that can track biological functions even more unobtrusively, with sensors on the surface of the eyes.
Get ready for the future of medicine- it's coming sooner than you think!