Glass and First Responders: A Match Made in RoboCop Heaven?

We’ve always been huge fans of Google Glass at Isobar, with our experiments running the gamut from winking to take a picture, to creating prototypes with Motorola Solutions that allow police officers to run licenses and license plates through databases with just a glance from Glass.

That said, we were thrilled to see other first responders adopting the technology, from the NYPD to a North Carolina-based firefighter.

It also got us thinking about what’s next for Glass. Here are a few thoughts on the next phase for first responders and Glass. We don’t think we need to worry about RoboCop just yet, and there’s some pretty cool things likely to emerge, either from our own innovation lab or from other Glass enthusiasts around the country.


Providing real-time data – During our research, we’ve talked a lot about situational awareness. Glass provides a way for data to reach emergency personnel or police. This can include the location of others on the response team, data from sensors that can be placed at a scene, and broadcast alerts that keep all team members abreast of critical information.


Monitoring vitals and biometrics – Health and wellness monitoring through wearable computers has become ubiquitous among consumers. By networking these types of sensors, the physiology of emergency workers and police can be monitored, leading to a variety of advantages to keep them healthy and safe.


Detecting trauma – By leveraging the accelerometers, camera and other sensors, algorithms can detect abnormalities and update a command center accordingly. Examples include detecting whether or not a police officer begins to run (or chase a suspect), identifying whether or not the wearer is involved in a physical struggle, monitoring motion to determine if a first responder becomes stagnant for a longer than expected period of time, falls, or is subject to some sort of unexpected and significant force.


Access to security cameras – Police cameras have sprung up across the country, and while we know these camera streams are moving onto the screens of ruggedized mobile devices, there is an opportunity to push camera views and send PTZC (point, tilt, zoom and capture) commands to cameras.


Enhanced vision – While not part of Glass today, we recognize that device manufacturers are starting to work towards integration of other types of sensors into devices, including Infrared and FLIR. These emerging concepts would allow the wearer to see in the dark, or even through walls to determine where victims or suspects might be located and what their physical status is.


With the potential for wearable devices like Glass to improve the safety and effectiveness of first responders — not to mention help the public they are serving — we’re excited to help move innovation forward in this space.