Google Glass Put to Work to Help Parkinson's Patients

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2014-04-10 Print this article Print

McNaney told eWEEK that because Glass is a new technology and because Parkinson's patients are usually older, researchers expected to get negative feedback from them about using the newfangled devices. Instead, she said, rather than being intimidated by Glass, the patients have been very positive about using the devices.

"We were learning as well," she said. "I think that they really could see quite a lot of potential for people with Parkinson's [by using Glass]. One thing you find when you work with people like this is that they are really the experts in this disease. So the next stage is to work with them to see what other apps and patient needs can be filled. It's really through working with the people with Parkinson's that we're going to be able to see the potential in doing that."

Asked about the work being done with Glass at the school, a Google spokesman told eWEEK in an email reply, "Newcastle University is an excellent example of how people and institutions are thinking creatively about how to unlock the potential of wearables like Glass. We're excited about their work and look forward to seeing it develop in the months and years ahead."

Other medical patients have also been experimenting with Glass in separate experiments. In August 2013, eWEEK reported on a young woman in the United States, Alex Blaszczuk, who was in a severe car crash in 2011 that left her a quadriplegic. Blaszczuk has been using Google Glass to take photos, send messages to friends and more. She was selected by Google to participate in the company's Google Glass Explorer Program, which allowed prospective users to submit ideas for why they should be chosen to buy and test out one of the first Glass devices. Blaszczuk's entry was selected from the thousands of submissions to the #ifihadglass competition.

Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development, where it was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.

In February 2013, Google expanded its nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become part of its continuing development. In March, Google also began notifying a pool of applicants who were selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year by consumers. Those selected applicants have been receiving their units in waves.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.

Google Glass isn't yet ready for the general public, but sales of the devices are expected to begin sometime later in 2014.


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