19 March 2019
Shaolin Temple abbot Shi Yongxin wears Google Glass during a visit to Google Inc. in the US in March. Photo: Beijing News
Shaolin Temple abbot Shi Yongxin wears Google Glass during a visit to Google Inc. in the US in March. Photo: Beijing News

Google military, Google healthcare, Google Zen, what’s next?

Google Glass is going on limited sale in the United States next week and those with US$1,500 to spare can have bragging rights to being among the first to own one.

For the most part, Google Glass has been an experiment since it was unveiled two years ago, largely for the consumption of reviewers and tech-savvy fans who are expected to pick it apart to see what works and what doesn’t.

In fact, the limited US launch is meant to be along those lines, according to media reports. The early commercial adopters will become part of the Glass Explorer program that will expand the test run ahead of a full-scale release of the device.

That’s the story so far, but it actually goes back much further.

Google Glass is already in use as a tactical device in the US military and in everyday medical care in certain leading US hospitals.

It’s even being touted as a way to propagate Zen Buddhism.

The US Air Force is using Google Glass in a research program that could make it a regular wartime accessory, NBC News reports.

Researchers bought two pairs of the wearable computer through the Glass Explorer program and have been researching the potential of the technology since May last year. 

What for?

It turns out that the military’s parachute rescue jumpers are often the first medical workers to attend to injured soldiers.

Keeping track of multiple patients in the field is tough but Google Glass, paired with Android smartphones and tablets, could be used to help the rescuers treat minor injuries while keeping an eye on the patients’ condition, Andres Calvo, a software development engineer, told the network.

Meanwhile, doctors at a major hospital in Boston have become the first in the US to use Google Glass for everyday medical care, according to Boston Globe.

Medics at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are using the eyewear to keep doctors’ hands free, which they see as the “‘holy grail” of hospital technology, the report said.

This week, the hospital is expanding the use of Google Glass to its entire emergency department and the hospital said it is the first in the United States to employ the device for everyday medical care

Emergency room doctors will slip on the high-tech gear as routinely as they put on scrubs when they begin their shifts, the report said.

Even a Shaolin Temple abbott is impressed.

Shi Yongxin {釋永信}, vice chairman of the Buddhist Association of China, sees Google Glass and other forms of modern technology as a good way to propagate Zen culture and martial arts, according to Beijing News.

He had a first-hand encounter with high-tech when he visited Google and Apple during a US tour in March.

– Contact HKEJ at [email protected]


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