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Summary:

Google Glass makes some people uneasy, but a medical app that tells folks how to perform CPR not only could save lives, but also highlights what’s so awesome about our connected, sensor-rich future.

A medical doctor in Arkansas has developed a Google Glass app that both reminds people how to do CPR, and provides them a catchy 70s-era hit to help them compress the heart as rapidly as you are supposed to (hat tip Forbes). But by taking advantage of the gyroscope to measure compressions, existing video-sharing functions and algorithms that can detect a victim’s pulse, the app can do more than passively serve up information — it provides feedback.

This app shows off two really exciting things — one, that hands-free computing will enable new applications for an enormous number of industries, and two, that sensors and connectivity together will let the web interact with the real world. And the CPRGLASS app, developed by Dr. Christian Assad-Kottner, a cardiology fellow at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, does both. That interaction and new possibilities for computing are the promise of the internet of things.

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In a blog post, Dr. Assad-Kottner explains the app, and his choice of The Bee Gees’ song Stayin’ Alive. The idea is that Glass-wearing individual who sees a person collapse can rush to their side and tell Glass, “OK Glass, CPRGLASS.” At that point the app comes up telling the person how to look for a pulse (later version might be able to build off research in using video cameras and algorithms to detect a pulse to perform this step automatically).

If the person tells Glass there’s no pulse, The Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive starts playing to help the caregiver match their chest compressions to the optimal rate and a gyroscope in Glass monitors if the compressions are effective. Meanwhile the app is calling 911 with the location garnered from the GPS chip inside the Glass app and also sending a text to the nearest hospital so they can prep for a new patient.

Dr. Assad-Kotter also teased the use of the Hangout function inside Glass as a possible way to get a medical professional on the line ready to offer advice. This would be amazing, but I’ve discovered that adding people to your Google account so you can do a hangout is a kludgy experience, so that would have to be fixed in the app somehow.

But even though this is still a work in progress (and you’re more likely to find a defibrillator than a Glass-wearing individual in most locations,) I am loving the use of sensors and interactivity proposed by this app. Dr. Assad-Kotter is clearly taking the 2-D version of the Internet and making it into a 3-D world, something that’s now possible with ubiquitous (and fast on the upload side) connectivity and embedded sensors.

  1. Rashad Abdul-Salaam MBA, MA, CNIM Monday, July 8, 2013

    There’s so much potential for Google Glass to help emergency responders in vital situations like this, and it’s usefulness will only get more robust over time.

    The internet is empowering patients and consumers in all sorts of ways, which is why we created HappyHealth to help consumers store basic health information and use it to auto-fill those pesky doctor’s office forms. Check us out and make dealing with annoying doctor office paperwork a thing of the past.

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  2. Wow, I want to download this. I have glass! I used to be CPR certified, but it’s been quite a while and an app like this would reassure me I’m doing the right thing while I panic.

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  3. Staying Alive was used in this advert for the British Heart Foundation a couple of years ago in the UK featuring hard man actor/footballer (soccer) Vinnie Jones.

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    1. On his blog Assad links to an American Heart Association video that’s longer and less hilarious but also uses Stayin’ Alive. If I were the Gibbs I’d be proud.

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