Assessment of Google Glass for Photographic Documentation in Veterinary Forensic Pathology: Usability Study

JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2018 Sep 21;6(9):e180. doi: 10.2196/mhealth.9975.


Background: Google Glass is a head-mounted device designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses equipped with a 5.0-megapixel integrated camera and capable of taking pictures with simple voice commands.

Objective: The objective of our study was to determine whether Google Glass is fit for veterinary forensic pathology purposes.

Methods: A total of 44 forensic necropsies of 2 different species (22 dogs and 22 cats) were performed by 2 pathologists; each pathologist conducted 11 necropsies of each species and, for each photographic acquisition, the images were taken with a Google Glass device and a Nikon D3200 digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera. The pictures were collected, divided into 3 groups (based on the external appearance of the animal, organs, and anatomical details), and evaluated by 5 forensic pathologists using a 5-point score system. The parameters assessed were overall color settings, region of interest, sharpness, and brightness. To evaluate the difference in mean duration between necropsies conduced with Google Glass and DSLR camera and to assess the battery consumption of the devices, an additional number of 16 necropsies were performed by the 2 pathologists. In these cases, Google Glass was used for photographic reports in 8 cases (4 dogs and 4 cats) and a Nikon D3200 reflex camera in the other 8 cases. Statistical evaluations were performed to assess the differences in ratings between the quality of the images taken with both devices.

Results: The images taken with Google Glass received significantly lower ratings than those acquired with reflex camera for all 4 assessed parameters (P<.001). In particular, for the pictures of Groups A and B taken with Google Glass, the sum of frequency of ratings 5 (very good) and 4 (good) was between 50% and 77% for all 4 assessed parameters. The lowest ratings were observed for the pictures of Group C, with a sum of frequency of ratings 5 and 4 of 21.1% (342/1602) for region of interest, 26% (421/1602) for sharpness, 35.5% (575/1602) for overall color settings, and 61.4% (995/1602) for brightness. Furthermore, we found a significant reduction in the mean execution time for necropsy conduced with the Google Glass with respect to the reflex group (P<.001). However, Google Glass drained the battery very quickly.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that Google Glass is usable in veterinary forensic pathology. In particular, the image quality of Groups A and B seemed adequate for forensic photographic documentation purposes, although the quality was lower than that with the reflex camera. However, in this step of development, the high frequency of poor ratings observed for the pictures of Group C suggest that the device is not suitable for taking pictures of small anatomical details or close-ups of the injuries.

Keywords: Google Glass; documentation; mobile phone; necropsy; pictures; veterinary forensic pathology.