If you wanted facial recognition capability on Google Glass, there’s an app for that now.

A stethoscope on display in New York on Oct. 13, 2009. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
(Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

The team behind MedRef for Glass has created an application that would allow Glass users to take and then associate photographs of people with data relevant to the subject. The app was developed for hospital employees to give them a faster way to reference records and notes when they meet patients. While the functionality may be a new addition to Glass, facial recognition isn’t new tech unto itself. Social media platforms have been leveraging a form of the technology for a while now.

A demonstration of MedRef for Glass posted on YouTube shows that it’s not quite as slick and smooth as some of the potential uses Google presented in a video posted Monday, but the developers make clear the app is still in its early stages.

“Hopefully, in the future, we’ll have super-advanced versions of this hardware that will be doing this constantly,” says computer programmer Lance Nanek during the demonstration video.

Nanek tentatively navigates through the app during the demo, highlighting the fact that even those developing for the hardware are still getting used to the user interface, which involves a combination of voice, touch and motion. Just as development of apps for Glass and other wearable technologies will take time, so will learning how the hardware works.

But the user interface learning curve makes the promise of the technology, for some, no less tantalizing. As VentureBeat’s Christina Farr writes, Glass, or other technologies similar to it, could be used to quickly reference drug data or identify skin diseases and help doctors conduct faster, more efficient diagnoses. In February, physician Rafael Grossmann, after seeing the technology, described a future in which he sees the wearable technology as “a common health care tool,” applied to everything from conferencing in a fellow doctor for a consultation to providing an update to a patient’s family member.

“I believe,” writes Grossmann, “that the potential of a tool like this is only limited by our imagination.”

In the meantime, many of the doctors and patients who stand to have their medical experience changed by the technology still have yet to even see it in action.

Read more by Emi Kolawole and follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @innovations.