Google’s Project Aura wearable patents severe injury assessment
Thu 2 Feb 2017
A patent filed earlier this year indicates that Google is looking to integrate accident recovery features into the new iteration of its wearable computing system, Project Aura (formerly Google Glass).
The patent was filed in September of 2016 by Google employee Adrian Wong – who briefly left Google to work on the Oculus Rift VR project before returning to the fold – and was published January 5th this year.
It outlines plans for an optical sensor which can perform diagnoses based on eye response in the event of injury or accident, apparently triggered by severe and sudden changes as measured by the device’s accelerometer.
The patent foresees four methods of diagnosis: an eye response test, a verbal response test, a visual diagnostic test and a motor response test.
According to diagrams included in the patent, the Project Aura glasses would initially make automatic ocular scans, proceeding to verbal cues if there is inadequate response. The system utilises the Glasgow Coma scale, an established standard for assessing the consciousness of a patient.
The headset also runs through a verbal response set, stopping the sequence if all responses received are correct, else iterating through more basic responses until the state of the wearer is established. A similarly prompted diagnosis set is established for motor movement.
The Glasgow Coma Scale establishes the severity of closed-head injuries on a scale of three to fifteen, based on responses in the tests; under nine, the injury is deemed severe.
Upon establishing severe injury or inadequate response to the diagnosis sets, the Project Aura glass would attempt to contact emergency services.
The functionality is similar in scope to home and hospital devices supplied to elderly or infirm patients, which calculate unusual or very quick changes in orientation, interpreting these as emergency conditions, and automatically contacting help.
Project Aura is the revenant form of Google Glass, the tech giant’s controversial wearable that was capable of recording live video, and which provided Augmented Reality vision via interposed imagery on the glasses. The criticism over privacy concerns and pricing eventually combined with the advent of the Microsoft HoloLens and the clear lead of 3D-driven virtual reality, to cause Google to re-invent the project under relatively mysterious new auspices in 2015.