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X-Ray Specs, for real: these glasses see through skin

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An augmented-reality eyepiece designed to help hospitals work faster and safer

Evena Eyes-On
Evena Eyes-On

About 1 billion times a year in the United States, nurses and doctors puncture a patient's skin with a needle in search of a vein. Right now this technique relies on feel; that means more than half of all those children and 40 percent of adults have to be stuck multiple times before a vein is found. In an effort to make this process less painful and time-consuming, Evena has created the Eyes-On glasses, which allow the wearer to peer through the skin and see the vascular structure beneath in great detail.

The Eyes-On unit uses a spectral approach: it pulses with four different kinds of light that are combined into a single composite image, making veins stand out against the skin. The glasses are designed to work wirelessly, although the unit we tested was plugged in with bulky physical cables. The image of the veins appeared very clearly on a connected tablet, which also showed vital signs. It was also projected in my field of vision, as if it were Google Glass, so that the nurse can see it overlaid on top of the actual body. I found this image a bit difficult to see clearly, but I'm no trained professional.

After the initial puncture, the Eyes-On glasses can also be used to check for leakage from an IV. This is critical with certain drugs, during chemotherapy for example, which can cause great damage to the surrounding tissue if they escape the vein. The Eyes-On glasses will go into mass production this April and are expected to retail for around $10,000.