Google has opened the doors to the Google Glass Explorer program, but the $1,500 requirement and possible supply limitations can be discouraging. But if you're a medical student at the University of California Irvine School of Medicine, you'll be able to get your hands on one without much fuss or worry.
UC Irvine now has the distinction of being the first to integrate Google Glass deeply into the school's academic life. Sure, there have been various experiments and field tests of using the smart eyewear in medical applications, but those have been mostly temporary or individual cases. In contrast, this is definitely a more massive program. First and second year students will be given Google Glass to use in their anatomy and clinical skill courses, while third and fourth years will be using them for their hospital rotations.
Dean of Medicine Dr. Ralph Clayman believes that digital technology helps deliver a better learning experience and that acclimating students to the different techonologies at their disposal can help improve medical practice in general. To some extent, Google Glass does make some sense in the medical field, particularly for doctors. These medical professionals more often than not require fast access to relevant information, sometimes even faster than what an assistant can provide. They also mostly work with their hands and Google Glass gives them that freedom without depriving them of the benefits of having a mobile device at hand.
But using Google Glass in an educational setting is one thing, and using it in actual practice is another. Google has been facing an uphill battle in getting Glass seen as an acceptable mobile device, especially when privacy and safety are concerned. This foray into the medical field, which seems to be more receptive of Google Glass than, say, transportation, might just be the image boost that Google needs to help sell Glass to the public.