The Air Force is currently evaluating the effectiveness of Google Glass in battlefield informatics that could allow medics to treat the wounded, WSJ reports. A research group at Ohio’s Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has created several software prototypes and believes Google Glass could serve as a lighter alternative to bulkier, more expensive head-mounted models currently utilized by Air Force personnel.
Google Glass for Air Force Medics
Researchers have built an Android based mobile health app that feeds health data to Google Glass wearing medics to review a wounded soldier’s vital signs. This allows medics to work hands free to treat the wounded receiving vital sign information such as heart rhythm, respiration and blood oxygen level information from wireless vital monitors war fighters wear on their chests. “We distill the data [on the smartphone] and push that out to Glass, which is connected to the mobile device,” said Mr. Burnett, the chief engineer of the group. With traditional head-mounted displays costing anywhere from $5k or more, Google Glass’s $1,500 price tag is a viable economic option for the defense industry.
The biggest risk of utilizing Google Glass in the battlefield is how easily the wearable device could break on forceful impact. Forrester Research analyst, JP Gownder who tracks wearable computing believes Glass may not be able to provide the same situational awareness compared to other wearables that feature augmented reality. Superimposing information about a soldier’s health information, terrain or objects in the field over what a soldier sees in front of one’s face could pose many challenges. “I think there will be limits on what it can do,” said Mr. Gownder (Bolton, Wall Street Journal, 5/14).
Image Credit: Air Force