Surgeon travels to Birmingham to perform first international surgery using Google Glass

Technological advances in the medical field are amazing. This morning the first international surgery with Google Glass was performed in El Salvador. But part of the operating team was in Birmingham.

Google Glass is a sort of frame with a small transparent display above the right eye. It's equipped with a hidden camera and has the ability to respond to voice commands, display emails and take pictures.

A Birmingham-based company, Vipaar, teamed up with a plastic surgeon from Boston to facilitate this morning's cleft palate surgery. The technology is expected to help more surgeons in third-world countries learn how to perform complex procedures.

"I think as a surgeon you always want to operate. We're all control freaks. You always want the results in your hands at all times. But that being said, every surgeon knows they can only touch so many people literally," said Doctor Raj Vyas.{}

That realization is part of what brought Dr. Vyas all the way from Boston to Birmingham. He's a member of the Global Smile Foundation, an organization that helps undeserved people with facial congenial deformities. Monday morning he teamed up with the Birmingham-based company{} vipaar to perform the first international surgery with Google Glass. "What we're trying to do and why I'm in Birmingham today is to see if we can do augmented reality or virtual remote from our surgical outreach sites in Latin American and African and transmit the visual fields in the operating room back to any location, said Vyas.

Here's how it works: The surgeon in El Salvador is wearing a Google Glass device. With a basic wifi connection, Vyas can see exactly what the surgeon in El Salvador is seeing, from the exact same vantage point in real time.

An audio connection through a tablet device allows them to talk to each other. A basic camera attached to Vipaar software technology allows Vyas to point and direct surgeons from this end. "They're able to see our hand in their visual field coming in and pointing at structures," Vyas said.

Vipaar CEO Drew Deaton says what's happening in this room is just the beginning. "It's going to make sense for outside the medical world too. So any time there needs to be a repair or a fix or if you want to be able to work hands free on a project, and maybe you have engineers remotely who need to assist. This is a way it can be done," said Deaton.