Thomas R. Collins is a freelance medical writer based in Florida.
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Explore This IssueSeptember 2014
Comparing Notes: The WATCH Conference
Paul Szotek, MD, had heard enough of the war stories about physicians trying to put Google Glass to use in their centers. There were successes—but also brick walls. Some concerns seemed valid, others excessively conservative.
It was time to bring everybody together to try to figure all of this out. So he organized the WATCH Conference, a meeting on wearable technology held in July of this year.
“It seemed like it was very fragmented,” Dr. Szotek said. “My goal was to bring it together and generate a good discussion so that we can all move forward in a positive manner of collaboration instead of castaways on individual little islands. If you’re all isolated on separate little islands, you’re not really helping move the technology forward as a whole.”
He said he imagines that Glass could become a valuable tool in head and neck surgery. A Google Glass app, recently released by Avinent and Droiders, helps guide dentists through dental implants with the use of its heads-up display and voice commands. The same kind of app could prove useful in head and neck surgery, Dr. Szotek said.
Sagar Patel, MD, a resident physician at Wayne State who spoke at the conference, said Glass has its problems—the battery dies within a couple of hours when recording and the unit can generate heat—but pointed out that its functions will only continue to expand as it’s used.
“A lot of what we’re doing now is exploratory work and innovative uses of the potential applications of Google Glass,” said Dr. Patel. “It’s a first-generation product. …However, the more we use the product, the more utilizations that surgeons will see.”—TRC