While the the Google Glass Explorer Program hasn't yet reached British shores, Google has begun gifting trial versions of the connected eyewear to various organizations around the world ahead. One of the first institutions to get hold of Glass was the UK's Newcastle University, which used its five devices as part of a program to help Parkinson's disease sufferers.

The program aimed to allow Parkinson's sufferers to retain more independence for longer using Glass's online connectivity, sensors and voice-based features. Using specially designed apps, the team at Newcastle was able to let Glass show customized alerts notifying users of upcoming medical appointments, and when they should take medication — Parkinsons sufferers often have to take many different kinds of medication at various time throughout the day.

Prompts are also shown at regular intervals reminding the volunteers to speak or swallow to prevent drooling. And Glass's motion sensors and display helped sufferers deal with "freezing," a symptom of the illness, by showing visual cues. Volunteers also benefitted from Glass's voice-activated features, which allowed them to call friends, family members or carers without having to use a small, fiddly handset.

It's still early days for Google Glass, and many questions remain around future use cases for the device. But Newcastle University's recent efforts demonstrate Glass's potential beyond being merely an extension of your smartphone. You'll find more details in the video above.

Source: Newcastle University; via: Engadget