Using Google Glass to interpret chest X-ray remotely: How accurate is it?

Google glass

Google Glass is an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of glasses. It can display information like a smartphone without being held by hands.

This hand-free, wearable technology has many applications in medicine, especially for physicians.

For example, it can remotely transmit and review medial images like chest X-rays. This is very useful for medical personnel in small or rural hospitals and in emergent situations.

However, it is still unknown whether the remote interpretation via Google Glass is accurate.

A recent study published in International Journal of Cardiology answered this question.

Researchers examined interpretation of 12 chest X-rays with 23 major cardiopulmonary findings. They invited 15 faculty and fellows from cardiology, radiology, and pulmonary-critical area.

These participants viewed the chest X-ray images on the Google Glass screen, photos of the chest X-rays taken by Google Glass and transmitted to iPhone 6, and the original chest X-rays on a desktop computer.

The result showed that when viewing the images via Google Glass, participants could find 14 findings (accuracy 61%).

When viewing Google Glass photos on iPhone, they could find 18 findings (accuracy 78%).

When viewing the images directly from a desktop computer, they could find 21 findings (accuracy 91%).

In addition, most of them were impressed with clarity of the image taken by Google Glass as viewed on iPhone, and they felt a hand-free device that could transmit information and images to remote locations would be tremendously beneficial.

Researchers suggest that the remote chest X-ray interpretation using Google Glass is less accurate than interpretation using a desktop computer or a mobile phone.

This may be because the Glass screen is too small and unable to zoom in. Additionally, the resolution of the projected images is lower than that of high-resolution cell phones.

In the future, more work is needed to improve the technology so that it can be widely used in medicine field.

Citation: Spaedy E, Christakopoulos GE, Tarar MN, Christopoulos G, Rangan BV, Roesle M, Ochoa CD, Yarbrough W, Banerjee S, Brilakis ES. (2016). Accuracy of remote chest X-ray interpretation using Google Glass technology. International Journal of Cardiology, 219:38-40. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.05.070.
Figure legend: This image is for illustrative purposes only.