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Surgeon live-streams knee repair with Google Glass

A Google Glass-wearing surgeon transmits video of major knee surgery to colleagues and students. It's a first-of-its-kind moment in the US and a big step for wearable tech.

Christopher MacManus
Crave contributor Christopher MacManus regularly spends his time exploring the latest in science, gaming, and geek culture -- aiming to provide a fun and informative look at some of the most marvelous subjects from around the world.
Christopher MacManus
2 min read
Dr. Christopher Kaeding performs ACL surgery and transmits the progress to a Google Hangout. The Ohio State University

For the first time in the US, a surgeon wearing Google Glass transmitted video of a surgery, live from the operating room, to a colleague and students miles away.

Dr. Christopher Kaeding was the participating surgeon in the landmark moment, which occurred on August 21 during a routine ACL surgery at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. Kaeding, director of sports medicine at the university, wore Google Glass while repairing 47-year-old Paula Kobalka's knee, which she injured while playing softball.

"To be honest, once we got into the surgery, I often forgot the device was there," Kaeding said. "It just seemed very intuitive and fit seamlessly."

Ohio State University College of Medicine students observe Dr. Kaeding perform ACL surgery. Ohio State University

Kaeding transmitted video of the surgery via a Google Hangout to his colleague Dr. Robert Magnussen, who watched the event in his office, far from the operating room. Select students, located at Ohio State University's College of Medicine, also joined the Hangout and witnessed the surgery on laptops.

"To have the opportunity to be a medical student and share in this technology is really exciting," said Ryan Blackwell, a second-year medical student who witnessed the procedure. "This could have huge implications, not only from the medical education perspective, but because a doctor can use this technology remotely, it could spread patient care all over the world in places that we don't have it already."

Kaeding borrowed the Google Glass Explorer Edition from Dr. Ismail Nabeel, an assistant professor of general internal medicine at Ohio State who was chosen to participate in exclusive beta tests of the highly anticipated device.