Glassomics eyes Google Glass for health

August 2, 2013 in Medical Technology

The possibilities for Google Glass in healthcare are, to borrow an overused phrase, endless. A new collaboration in San Diego is looking to explore those opportunities in more detail.

Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life have launched a new incubator specifically focused on Google’s computerized eyeglasses, which aren’t expected to become commercially available until sometime next year. The incubator, called Glassomics, aims to bring in healthcare experts, developers, clinicians, venture capital interests, universities and others to look beyond the “Wow” factor.

“There’s been a lot of interest among various people in healthcare,” said Orlando Portale, Palomar Health’s chief innovation officer, who created and trademarked Glassomics earlier this month. “There’s quite a bit to learn because the user interface paradigm is quite a bit different from” the mobile platform that Palomar has explored in the past.

[See also: What will Google Glass do for health?.]

Both Palomar Health and Qualcomm Life are well positioned to capitalize on the promise of Google Glass. Palomar has been at the forefront of mHealth innovation in its work with AirStrip and Sotera, and recently opened the Palomar Medical Center, a $956 million, 11-story “hospital of the future” in west Escondido, where Glassomics will be based. Qualcomm Life burst onto the scene roughly two years ago when its parent company launched the 2net wireless platform, which enables wireless devices and networks to share data.

“From our perspective, this is a low investment, high impact kind of an incubator,” said Don Jones, vice president of global strategy for Qualcomm Life, in a recent San Diego Union-Tribune story. “It’s effectively a virtual incubator. This is not a building. This is clinical environment where developers can come.”

“Often the hardest part (for medical technology developers) is finding an organization that is willing to take on the testing – not in a test environment but in a real life environment with patients and data systems,” he added.

Portale said the incubator would move beyond the basic applications now being tried by some of the 10,000 Google “explorers” who were selected to test out the $1,500 glasses. He said Google isn’t interested in any of the business applications at this point and is solely focused on the consumer-facing details, so it hasn’t yet passed on the Glass Developer Kit that Glassomics will need to develop and test new apps.

“What we’ve been seeing so far are trivial applications,” he said. “They’re good, but we want to approach this like any new computing platform. We’re creating a simulated environment, and it’ll be up to us to innovate.”

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