A blinded assessment of video quality in wearable technology for telementoring in open surgery: the Google Glass experience
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- Hashimoto, D.A., Phitayakorn, R., Fernandez-del Castillo, C. et al. Surg Endosc (2016) 30: 372. doi:10.1007/s00464-015-4178-x
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The goal of telementoring is to recreate face-to-face encounters with a digital presence. Open-surgery telementoring is limited by lack of surgeon’s point-of-view cameras. Google Glass is a wearable computer that looks like a pair of glasses but is equipped with wireless connectivity, a camera, and viewing screen for video conferencing. This study aimed to assess the safety of using Google Glass by assessing the video quality of a telementoring session.
Thirty-four (n = 34) surgeons at a single institution were surveyed and blindly compared via video captured with Google Glass versus an Apple iPhone 5 during the open cholecystectomy portion of a Whipple. Surgeons were asked to evaluate the quality of the video and its adequacy for safe use in telementoring.
Thirty-four of 107 invited surgical attendings (32 %) responded to the anonymous survey. A total of 50 % rated the Google Glass video as fair with the other 50 % rating it as bad to poor. A total of 52.9 % of respondents rated the Apple iPhone video as good. A significantly greater proportion of respondents felt Google Glass video quality was inadequate for telementoring versus the Apple iPhone’s (82.4 vs 26.5 %, p < 0.0001). Intraclass correlation coefficient was 0.924 (95 % CI 0.660–0.999, p < 0.001).
While Google Glass provides a great breadth of functionality as a wearable device with two-way communication capabilities, current hardware limitations prevent its use as a telementoring device in surgery as the video quality is inadequate for safe telementoring. As the device is still in initial phases of development, future iterations or competitor devices may provide a better telementoring application for wearable devices.