JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - A tiny piece of technology is having a big impact in the classrooms at ETSU's Quillen College of Medicine.
It's called Google Glass, and a local professor is one of only a few thousand people across the world to get a sneak peek at the product.
Google Glass is a wearable computer. It works with the touch of a hand or a voice command.
Dr. Martin Olsen is the director of the medical residency program at the ETSU Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He's one of 8,000 people in the world given the opportunity to try the new product, and he's putting it to use in the simulation lab at the medical school.
"Just the fact that they're getting exposed to new technology makes them more enthused," says Dr. Olsen.
When students wear Google Glass, it puts the professors in the student's shoes. If they're doing a simulated surgery, Google Glass can record the surgery and professors and students can go back and watch what they've done.
They've also put the Google Glass on the patients to see what it's like from their perspective. "You get to see the mannerisms that you don't know you have. You get to see if you make good eye contact, you get to see if you're portraying an image of confidence to the patient," explains second-year resident Dr. Amber Mullins.
Dr. Olsen says this is all just the beginning of the future of medicine. He sees the product being used by paramedics to give emergency room doctors a view of a patient on their way in, and even in developing countries that may need medical advice from doctors in another country.
"I think the potential for taking care of elderly patients is also something important to think about because it's easier to check on your elderly parent if they've got something that's easy for them to work with," adds Dr. Olsen.
Dr. Olsen had to apply to get the Google Glass. Applicants had to submit an essay; in 50 words or less they had to say why they wanted the product.
Here is the poem Dr. Olsen wrote as his application:
"Med students in the nation
Would get great surgical simulation
Improvements in patient care
Could be found in hospitals everywhere
All this could come to pass