The Wearable Headset That Lets Nurses See Your Veins

Getting an IV placed in a vein may be a less hit-and-miss process in the future, thanks to some Google Glass-esque tech.

While Google Glass may be occupying a lot of the spotlight on wearable tech at the moment, particularly when it comes to headsets, other companies are quietly innovating away in the same space. Evena Medical, for example, which today revealed hardware (based on Epson smart glasses) that lets nurses and medical technicians literally see through a patient's skin to the vascular system underneath—in real time. The practical upshot of this innovation is one we can all applaud: Reduced pain from repeated attempts to locate a vein in your arm when nurses need to fit you with an IV or draw blood from your body.

Evena Medical

Evena's press release notes that about 40% of IV starts require several attempts to find and then accurately place a needle in a vein. That's a lot of patient pain and extra time taken by medical staff whose time is already pressed. The whole point of the new Eyes-On Glasses System is that it can give medical professional a real time view of the veins beneath a patient's skin in ways that the mere human eyes just can't manage—no matter how expert they are. The headset, which is based on Epson's existing Moverio headset, uses multispectral 3-D imaging, which means several cameras look at the patient's skin from a number of angles using lots of wavelengths, some of which are beyond human vision—like infrared. The Evena system then overlays the vein data on the nurse's view of the patient's skin, so placing a needle accurately should be much simpler. Bonus: data on the procedure can be wirelessly sent to a patient's hospital file.

This is said to be the first medical wearable tech system of its kind that, without any other hardware, can do this task easily at a patient's bedside. It's likely to hit hospitals in the Middle East, Europe and Asia first.

[Image: Flickr user US Army Africa]

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  • Sceptical Doctor

    As an old school doctor trained to recognize veins clinically without tech, this innovation probably appeals to my less well trained colleagues. In addition, seeing the vein is half the problem and doesn't guarantee successful cannulation during hypovolemic shock.

  • Saddened Nurse

    As a nurse I'm saddened by this "article". This reads like a press release, maybe try doing some actual thought or research rather than espousing the medical device company's expensive will this be, is the technology worth the cost, how often are multiple sticks needed or where might this actually be useful in clinical practice. Maybe talk to a practicing nurse or two. Sure, this might be useful in certain cases with patients but certainly doesn't have a great value over current practice and the expense of devices like this drives up costs in our healthcare system when existing methods work work.