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Google Glass Is Not Dead Yet: Augmedix, A Glass For Doctors Startup, Raises $16 Million

Despite consumers’ lack of interest, medical and other commercial applications for Glass are still gaining steam.

Google Glass Is Not Dead Yet: Augmedix, A Glass For Doctors Startup, Raises $16 Million
[Photo: Augmedix]

The glasshole has not yet become a regular fixture of the subway car (thank god), but Google Glass may become a more common sight in the doctor’s office. Augmedix, a startup that uses Google Glass as an electronic medical record solution, just raised $16 million. The company, which is already working with five national health systems, will use the money for further product development and deployment.

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Glass has yet to take off with consumers, and by some accounts developers and early adopters are losing faith in the platform, but calling Glass the Segway of our time is premature.

From medical records to surgery, health care is one of the most obvious applications for Glass. In addition to interest from doctors, investors see the headset’s potential. Pristine, a company using Glass to bring specialists into the operating room for consultations, raised $5.4 million in September.

Beyond the medical community, enterprise might be where Glass flourishes. Skylight, “the leading business software for Glass,” is used in various industries from manufacturing to aerospace, most notably for increased efficiency in service and maintenance. Here are some examples of commercial uses for Glass, from Eric Johnsen, who left Google’s Glass at Work team to work at APX Labs, maker of Skylight, last year:

  • Aircraft mechanic accesses engine status and manuals
  • Oil field worker follows complex standard operating procedures to operate an expensive piece of machinery
  • Logistics delivery person or installer gets details on the next delivery and the ability to provide confirmation and evidence of delivery/installation back to headquarters
  • Manufacturing line worker brings a bench level engineer to the line via real-time video using the camera in the smart glasses to “see what he sees”
  • Insurance adjuster documents an inspection on a damaged vehicle
  • Health care workers views a just-in-time snippet of training on a new piece of equipment

Glass’s main challenge in the real world–that it looks alien and is literally alienating–doesn’t exist to the same extent in certain workplaces, where people already wear uniforms. A doctor switching out one set of eyewear for another, frankly sleeker piece of hardware, isn’t going to offend the nurses or zonked-out patient. “To a certain extent, smartglasses are no different from a helmet, or the clothes a lot of these people are already wearing for safety,” Johnsen told Fast Company over the summer. “Enterprise is more about comfort and safety; for consumers, it’s more about fashion.”

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About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news.

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