There are many potential uses for augmented reality (AR) glasses, such as real-time captioning for the deaf, training military pilots, and providing runners with virtual partners. Now, they may also help Japanese emergency medical technicians (EMTs) save lives.
In a just-announced trial project, select EMT crews under the jurisdiction of the Shunto Izu Fire Department will be wearing and utilizing Vuzix M400 smart glasses while rushing critically-ill patients to the hospital. If the project is a success, use of the glasses may be expanded to other regions.
As the ambulance is still on a route, physicians at the receiving hospital will be able to view real-time video from the EMTs’ glasses. This will allow them to essentially perform an AR pre-examination of the patient. More precisely, they’ll be able to read vital signs data and ECG readouts from the monitoring systems in the vehicle, plus they’ll have the ability to monitor the patient’s facial expressions and watch for other visual changes in their condition.
Of course, they’ll also be able to converse back and forth – both orally and visually – with the EMTs, asking questions and receiving answers as needed. Ordinarily, both EMTs and hospitals are limited to verbal phone or radio communications.
Based on all the gathered information, the doctors will be able to verbally advise the EMTs on what actions to take while still in transit. Additionally, they will be able to make all the necessary preparations at the hospital, so optimal treatment can begin as soon as the patient arrives.
Collaborating members of the initiative include the Shunto Izu Fire Department, Juntendo University, Shizuoka Hospital, and extended reality company AVR Japan. The ultimate goal of the project is to “provide early treatment and improve outcomes for transported emergency patients.”