Google Glass gets facial recognition thanks to healthcare app

With Google Glass already gracing the brows of developers and early adopters, new apps are coming in thick and fast. The latest one might just create panic among privacy advocates.

The wearable now has an app that can perform facial recognition tasks. While it’s technically a healthcare-related app, MedRef for Glass can be used to access user information based on just a scan of a person’s face. The app has been designed to help doctors and medical professionals access patient records using facial recognition. Lance Nanek, the programmer behind the app, came up with the solution to help hospitals screen patients faster in cases of emergencies, especially with waiting rooms full of patients.

Screenshot from MedRef for Glass

Screenshot from MedRef for Glass


The app uses Glass’s timeline cards, which can be navigated using voice commands. Thanks to MedRef, Glass users can ‘Set Patient’ to add a new record or ‘Add Note’ to edit existing entries. The app further allows wearers to track patients using photos or text. Going one step further, the app can also store information about specific allergies for patients or specialised treatments they might require. The info can be retrieved by tapping Glass or via facial recognition. The open source MedRef app is available from GitHub.

Thanks to Glass being mostly hands-free, it seems like a great use of the wearable’s capabilities, but also might open up the field for campaigners against Glass, especially those concerned about its lack of privacy.


Published Date: May 14, 2013 01:54 pm | Updated Date: May 14, 2013 01:54 pm