Simply, GOOGLE GLASS…in DIGITAL HEALTH, a health sensor & beyond


Once in a while, an electronic wonder comes along that shakes the status quo; a gadget that makes everything change, that rewires our thoughts and ideas and gives us hope for a possible better future, here and now.

Sometimes, it is not really just one device, but many-in-one, with multiple capabilities and features that excite the imagination of the users, explorers, problem-solvers or “wannabes”.

Do you remember the Swiss Army Pocket-knife?  images-7

Let’s take Google Glass, for example; it is basically a wearable, smart-phone-like device, a communications tool. It allows you to make a phone-call (Glass-call, really), send a text message, e-mail and tweet. Taking photos, video (form the users point-of-view) and searching the Internet are also included. A formerly available feature, the video “Hangouts” and live video calls are not possible for now, but will return soon, and, reportedly, with much-improved quality.

All of these capabilities have, for the last year, inflamed the imagination of many people, among many disciplines, in my case, the field of Digital Health, Healthcare and Medical Education.

When I first saw Glass in live action, in the hands (forehead) of one of its inventors, Babak Parviz, at the Singularity University-FutureMed program 2013 ( ), I immediately knew that this device had the potential to change the game, or even better, “creatively destroy” how the game was played.

I applied and got selected to the Google Glass Explorers program, while dreaming about its uses in my field of work; I was able to buy it very early last year, started using it, became amazed with its potential and possibilities, performed the FIRST surgical operation with Glass ever documented, (, and then, suddenly and spontaneously became an advocate for it, sort of an evangelist for the use of the device in Healthcare and Medical Education, as well as an advisor to many start-ups and individuals who saw in this technology a true, exponential breakthrough in the computing device platform. Alongside, gave three TEDx talks related to GoogleGlass in Healthcare and Education (

BUT we have yet to see, much beyond its intuitive applications.

The fact that Glass has a second camera that points towards the wearer’s eye, a forward camera, a microphone, a bone conduction audio transducer, a touchpad, a gyroscope, a GPS, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, an ambient light and proximity sensor and that it is head-mounted, in contact with the skin of the forehead, gives it incredible leverage to develop as a multi-tasking device in medicine.

Glass can detect you eye movements and hence its ability to translate those movements into commands. Imagine navigating your screen, texting, typing, etc. , just by looking to different directions. It might sound silly, but think of quadriplegics (a person paralyzed from the neck down), and how this feature could open marvelous opportunities for then to functionally reintegrate, back to life.

Some time ago, I tried “The Muse” (@ChooseMuse ) and also became fascinated with it. It is basically a portable, wearable EEG (Electro-encephalogram, to detect, read and display your brain waves). It just works! You put it on, sync it with the app in your smartphone, and it displays an indirect measurement of your brain’s electrical activity. Plain amazing! Just imagine the potential to help you “train” your brain, to learn to focus, relax, meditate, provide biofeedback, etc.  Think PTSD therapy!

And then, I thought, this goes pretty much in the same position, in your forehead were Glass usually sits; how about integrating Google Glass + Muse, and add this incredible feature to the mix?

How about navigating the Glass menu with your brain’s electrical activity? (Think: “OK Glass, take a picture”!). Or train your brain, again with instant feedback, to give commands and navigate a computer screen menu.

Then, a few days ago, I read and article and watched a video, from a group in MIT/Georgia Tech, who is developing the fantastic idea to use the many embedded systems within Glass (the gyroscope, the magnetometer, the accelerometer, etc.), to basically provide accurate measurements of heart frequency and breathing rate (BioGlass). In addition to the obvious uses in medicine and fitness, this functionality could potentially detect your alertness and anger levels, whether you are falling asleep or not paying enough attention.

Now you could be relaxing and slowing your brain’s activity, and getting immediate feedback on your cardiac and respiratory rates…Awesome. A yogi’s dream!

As a surgeon, I also envision its uses in medical care, allowing patients, and providers, the right state of mind to undergo a procedure, to control pain with drug-free anesthesia or analgesia, to perform a procedure in a relaxed state, taking away pain, stress and frustration…

There’s another very clever gadget that allows your forearm muscles’ electric activity to be translated into commands to drive your electronics, and navigate their menus, allowing you to use hand gestures instead of a touch pad or a mouse; it’s called “The Myo”.

For sometime now, I’ve been playing with it and engaging with developers who are kindly sharing their software “spells” and abilities to help me trial and evaluate an integrated Glass-Myo interface.

I can go thru the Glass menu and screens just by moving my hand. Since this device “reads’ the electrical signals at the muscle level, then it potentially can act as an EMG (Electromyogram), and not just read but also evaluate muscular activity (think of the many muscular disorders that could benefit from this); couple this with The Muse, and you come up with a tool to give instant brain feedback related to muscular contraction and movement (Tai-Chi on steroids!), allowing the training, re-training and/or tuning of a particular group of muscles.

As I have said many times before, I think that Google Glass represents the beginning of the natural evolution of the computer (computing) platform.

Technology develops and progresses exponentially.

Google Glass use and applications are only limited by our creativity and imagination, and only the future will tell what’s possible and Beyond.

Stay put and don’t change the channel.

Thanks for reading.


Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS

Follow in Twitter @ZGJR for more updates and to contact me.



TEDX Talks as a Great Platform to Make Change Happen in Healthcare

A Summary of my TEDx talks, since 2011, related to Innovation Technology in Healthcare, Telemedicine, mHealth, Medical Education, wearables and, of course, Google Glass!
Feel free to share them. Best

TEDxDirigo: iPod + tele + trauma. “An iPod could save a life” or “The 130 Million Sq. Ft. Trauma Room”

TEDxBermuda: “OK Glass: I need a surgeon

TEDxDirigo: “OK Glass”:Disrupt HealthCare Now!

TEDx Youth@JBMHS: “GoogleGlass & other Marvels, Google Glass and Beyond


GoogleGlass on Steroids!


In medicine, when we say that something is “on steroids“, it usually means that it is super-charged, greatly improved and much better (think of how the steroids are usually, Ilegally used to improve athlete’s performance!).

When I thought of writing this post, my mind had been for days revolving around the fact that, despite being an amazing device, with great potential, GoogleGlass is still fairly limited and rough, in order to overly improve the way we do or teach medicine.

There have been several updates to the software, and the Glass we enjoy today is significantly better than the one I got in early June, 2013, a few days before I performed the first ever documented surgery procedure using this incredible gadget. The software runs smoother, the battery lasts longer, the features and menu are improved…Unfortunately, we are still missing the very important ability to live-stream video, since it was “recalled” several months ago ( a move that was necessary, since that feature was really not worth of the Google standard ). Some time ago, I had the chance to speak with the current head of Glass, Ivy Ross, , and she explained the reasoning behind the decision and also mentioned that, in the near future, something better will be brought back-…I can’t wait!). As I have emphasized in the past, this unique characteristic of Glass is really one of the reasons why, right out-of-the-box- this marvelous wonder could potentially revolutionize Healthcare and Medical Education, among many other disciplines.

Over the last year, many” wonder” coders, individuals, start-up companies and Universities have developed “spells” that really allow us to do the” magic” with Glass.We have gone far, but we are still just in the beginning, barely scratching the surface…

I have said it before, GoogleGlass represents the “Natural Evolution” of the computer (hardware ) platform, and its use is only limited by our imagination and creativity; I believe that we have seen a lot of that fantastic creativity in action, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover, a lot of potential to be fulfilled…


One of the features that is still missing, is the ability to integrate a completely “touch-less” control to Glass, enabling the navigation of the menu without a “swipe” or “tap”, without voice, wink or tilting of the head. The more intuitive way to do it, is to use hand “gestures” (moving, pointing, squeezing, etc.) in a virtual field, up in the air in front of our face (and Glass). For someone as myself, for example, for whom hands need to remain absolutely sterile at all times while operating, a virtual menu, which I can navigate without physical contact, would be to be “on Steroids”!

For some time time, I have been collaborating with a few brilliant teams of individuals, who will make this happen. New, and older devices, like the Myo (, LeapMotion (, Kinect ( and incredible interfaces like TedCube ( will augment GoogleGlass in ways that we can only dream of now.

Enabling touch-less commands and navigation of menus, will for sure make this  wearable device run “on steroids”, increasing the performance, our performance, and allowing us to, legally…get the gold we all deserve.





50 People Shaping Our State-THANKS!







I am really humbled and honored to be chosen as one of the “50” in this amazing publication, the July 2014 issue of Maine magazine ( ,   @Themainemag ) , “50 People Shaping Our State”.

As an “imported Mainer”, originally from the tropical latitudes of Venezuela, in South America, I feel that this state has so much more to offer than being a vacation paradise, the “Way Life Should Be”. A true land of opportunity and innovation.

Completely aside of my passion and achievements in Technology Innovation in Healthcare, it is THE TEAM I’m part of, whom really make a difference in regards to maintaining, improving and restoring the Health of our patients and “Shaping our State” for the better. THANKS to them.

MM_July2014_50People.pdf –

GoogleGlass in Healthcare, at Doctors2.0 …Breaking barriers and spreading the news

I had the honor to once again participate in the Doctors2.0 conference in Paris this past June ( .

If you haven’t heard of it, you are missing out a fantastic opportunity to learn, share and connect with an outstanding group of participants, in both sides of the room, from e-patients to e-doctors, from entrepreneurs to medical students, from industry to consumers.

This is a conference like no other, where the mix of attendees makes the core of the event, and gives it a relevance that it is not common to any other gathering.

I had the privilege and the honor to be interviewed by @HospitalPatient, e-patient Michael A. Weiss, to relate my vision and experience as a Surgeon, Innovator, Healthcare Futurist and GoogleGlass Explorer, being the first surgeon to ever use the device, answering his interesting questions and explaining the potential of this amazing technology in Healthcare and Medical Education.

Here is the interview

GoogleGlass Update. Nooo, Not The Video!!!

My email to Google, earlier today, after learning that the new update removes the video call feature from Glass:

The removal of video feature is really a deadly blow for Glass in Medicine!
The use in Med Ed, Telemedicine, Tele-mentoring, Tele-consulting is Now NOT possible!
I only hope that this is restored in the next update.
There’s a very active, important, growing professional community that has been working around Glass in Healthcare, who depends on this particular characteristic of Glass.
Please reconsider the decision of taking video away, or at least allow some user subgroups to choose whether to update.
Folks like me and several others, from Maine and Boston to San Francisco and Beyond our borders, must have the video option to be able to make Glass an important tool in Healthcare and Medical Education.

Personally, Always trust that Google will do the “right and bright” thing!
Video calls are essential if Glass is to be used as a professional tool (healthcare, technical disciplines, law engine cement, education, etc!)
I trust that Google is working on improving and optimizing a feature that certainly was “less-than-ideal” in the way it was working; at the same time, I wish we could keep using it until a better feature was already available, so that we wouldn’t have to halt our experience and development of Glass in Healthcare.
Also, Google should feel free to ask and “tap” the pool of “expert”, pioneer Explorers, to get our sense, opinion and even, maybe, recommendations before moving forward as Glass evolves!
I think that is one of the main advantages and “cleverness” of the Glass Explorers Program.

Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS

Questions and Hurdles for GoogleGlass in Medicine

I was recently asked these three questions, by Dr. Jennifer M. Joe, of  and Editor-in-Chief  of, in regards to the convergence of GoogleGlass and Medicine.

–What will be the top 5 mistakes that physicians/clinicians will have about Google Glass?

–What are the top 5 fields who will benefit from Google Glass? Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Radiology, Dermatology, and Neurology?
–What will be the top 5 biggest hurdles in getting Google Glass into the clinical setting?

Obviously, I’m not able to exactly predict the future, but I feel that my experience of several years as a surgeon and of a few years as an innovator in healthcare and, more recently, as a GoogleGlass Explorer might give me some extra advantage as well as insight to be able to come up with interesting thoughts, arising from EXPERIENCE and INTUITION.

A- What will be the top 5 mistakes-misconceptions that physicians/clinicians will have about Google Glass?

I believe that in the initial phases, as Glass is publicly released, many healthcare providers will purchase it; the interest and curiosity about the device will be  based on the reports of medical peers, GoogleGlass Explorers, after several months of experience with it, along with the spectacular and exciting coverage and spread by the media.

1-I think that one of the most common mistakes that I can foresee, is that most users will assume that the device has connectivity of its own.It does not! It needs a wifi network to connect to, or a smartphone that it can tether to, in order to have internet capabilities.

2-Another issue, will be related to its inappropriate use regarding privacy regulations and HIPAA.To use this device in the clinical setting (with patients), the device needs, or should be,”cleared” by your institution’s compliance office, but ONLY when there will be transmission of patient’s data through the device, through the internet. If the device is being used during a visit, for instance,  to look up information related to the patient’s condition in the internet, or to help explain a subject to a patient, using a digital resource, or in any way that does not involve patient’s Private Health Information (PHI), there should be no concerns about HIPAA compliance.

3-The device is not fully functional with only voice commands. It does need the “tap or swipe” on the right frame, to navigate certain menus; this makes it unsuitable, at least in an efficient manner,  for use when the user’s hands need to remain sterile.

4- The screen on the device is the equivalent of a 28″ screen seen from approximately 6-8 ft away; despite this, the content display allowance on the screen is in no way the same to what you can fit on an equivalent “non-Glass” display.

5-The battery life of the device is very limited, and if used continuously, the charge would likely not last much more than an hour or two, almost always requiring an additional, external, portable power supply.

B- What are the top 5 fields who will benefit from Google Glass? Surgery, Emergency Medicine, Radiology, Dermatology, and Neurology?

I think that “procedural” specialties (Emergency, Surgery, EMS), as well as those that rely heavily in the direct observation and “inspection” of the patient and the gathering of visual data to make a diagnosis (Radiology, Psychiatry, Neurology) will be the ones that will initially benefit from this type of device. After the device evolves, and eventually presents itself as the next step in the evolution of the computing platform to connect us to the digital realm, any medical specialty will integrate it as part of the routine, just as we now have PC’s, laptops, tablets, etc.

C- What will be the top 5 biggest hurdles in getting Google Glass into the clinical setting?

1-I believe that the protection of Private Health Information (PHI) and compliance with HIPAA are at this point the main obstacles being faced by GoogleGlass incorporation into the clinical setting (at least in the USA). There are developers working on this topic, and also some who have come up with solutions which are currently being tested in different locations.

2-Integration with the Electronic Medical record (EMR) is a feature that must be accomplished, if GoogleGlass is to be useful in the current setting of Healthcare. The device needs to be an extension of the current platforms that we routinely use, running the same EMR software or at least agnostically conversing with it.

3-Cost has to come down for it to be universally adopted as a new platform, likely substituting  the smartphone in  the near future. The price would have to be competitive with the cost of current portable devices.

4-There will have to be a change of “culture”, in the side of both the providers and the patients. This will naturally happen, as it did with the smartphones and tablets.

5- The network infrastructure will have to be enhanced. The bandwidth of current cellular and wifi networks, does not allow an optimal transmission of data.Dedicated networks will have to be developed so that medical users can have priority channels to allow connectivity without delays, flaws or intrusiveness.

I think that for now, these are my few thoughts regarding these very interesting questions; I hope this helps.

Please don’t forget to connect with me via Twitter at @ZGJR, or to visit the blog for further follow up comments or inquiries regarding this topic or the general theme of Innovation Technology in Healthcare.

As always, I’m very interested in spreading this information and my vision for the use of GoogleGlass in Healthcare, as well as conversing about what the future of technology in medicine will be like. Image

Always looking for speaking engagements and platforms.

Best ,

Rafael Grossmann, MD, FACS

OTHER Links, including my three recent TEDx talks about Glass in Healthcare in 2013.
#TEDx on the intuitive #GoogleGlass preventing Med errors and empowering the #EMR
“OK Glass”:Disrupt HC
#TEDx on wearable #GoogleGlass #mHealth “OK Glass: I need a surgeon My Journey from the Amazon to GoogleGlass in 2014GoogleGlass & other Marvels, for Youth – My latest vid at #TEDx Youth@JBMHS, “GoogleGlass and other Marvels
How will #googleglass fit in with #medicine? @ZGJR has answers. Watch his short vlog here: