Qualcomm Life, Palomar Launch Incubator for Google Glass Health Apps

Qualcomm Life and Palomar Health in California will explore how wearable computing products such as Google Glass can play a role in medical applications.

Qualcomm Life and Palomar Health have announced an incubator they have called "Glassomics" to explore how Google Glass and other consumer tracking devices can aid applications in health care.

The Glassomics incubator is intended to build partnerships in research and development of glassware applications in health care. The incubator will develop projects in augmented reality-guided clinical applications as well as software that can help clinicians navigate complex data and monitor physiological signs, Palomar Health reported.

"Wearable technology holds tremendous potential, and we are dedicated to exploring applications that create opportunities to improve biometric data and wireless health management," Donald Jones, vice president of global strategy and market development for Qualcomm Life, said in a statement.

Announced on July 26, Glassomics will focus on Google Glass to see how applications for the Android-based eyeware can provide doctors with lab results and genomic information, Orlando Portale, chief innovation officer at Palomar Health, told eWEEK in an email.

"The goal of Glassomics is to explore the potential of wearable computing in medicine, specifically Google Glass," Portale said. "We are designing and building applications for Glass that empowers physicians with real-time access to information about their patients, such as laboratory results and genomic information."

Glassomics will invite other technology companies, private equity firms and health care professionals to participate in the incubator, Portale added.

Regarding experimentation with Glass and wearable computing, Portale said, "There is a lot of brainstorming and experimentation to be done in this space and no way to know where our R&D efforts will lead us."

Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, is also exploring potential applications for Glass in health care, particularly for viewing emergency room dashboards and critical medical alerts.

In addition to Glass, the incubator will explore the role of smart watches in tracking patient information, Portale said.

The incubator will be housed at the new Palomar Medical Center in San Diego, Calif., a "hospital of the future" that opened in August 2012, according to Portale. The center incorporates several technologies from Cisco, AirStrip's mobile data platform and Sotera Wireless' body-worn Visi Mobile patient vital sign monitors.

Glassomics will explore how patient vital data from the Sotera monitors can be viewed in Google Glass, Portale said. This research will "require rethinking the user experience to accommodate the unique user interface paradigm of Google Glass," he noted.

The incubator will also incorporate the cloud-based Qualcomm 2net API and SDK beta, which will allow medical sensors to send data to physicians using the 2net cloud-based platform.

Sparseware, a software engineering firm in San Diego, will be a lead developer of the glassware prototypes, according to Palomar.

The incubator will also incorporate the HealthyCircles Orchestration engine, which Qualcomm recently acquired. The data-sharing platform allows doctors to connect electronic health records (EHRs) and biometric medical devices.

"We will be looking to integrate several Qualcomm technologies, including HealthyCircles," Portale said. "HealthyCircles is an innovative platform for coordinating care across the various venues of care such as the hospital, physician office and home."

In addition, the incubator may also use Qualcomm's AllJoyn, an open-source project that provides a universal software framework for interoperability of applications and devices such as Glass and smart watches with peer-to-peer device networks.

"For example, physicians that are conducting rounds in hospital could use AllJoyn-enabled wearable computing devices to share information about a particular patient in real time," Portale said.