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Wize Mirror May Soon Offer Health Consumers A Way To Detect Disease Risk Simply By Looking At Your Reflection

Mirror mirror on the wall, am I at risk of heart disease? Behavioural change is the most effective method in implementing primary prevention in terms of a healthy lifestyle. It is also the most viable approach to reduce the socio-economic burden of chronic and widespread diseases, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Wize Mirror soon available to consumers, looks like a mirror, but incorporates 3D scanners, multispectral cameras and gas sensors to assess the health of someone looking into it.

The mirror will assess health status by examining the person’s face, looking at fatty tissue, facial expressions and how flushed or pale they are, including telltale markers of stress or anxiety, while the gas sensors take samples of the user’s breath looking for compounds that give an indication of how much they drink or smoke. The 3D scanners analyse face shape to spot weight gain or loss, while the multispectral cameras can estimate heart rate or haemoglobin levels.

After the software has analysed the face - which only takes about a minute - the mirror produces a score that tells the user how healthy they seem. It also displays personalised advice on how to improve their health.

Wize Mirror is being developed by a consortium of researchers and industry partners from seven European Union countries, with EU funding. Sara Colantonio and colleagues from the National Research Council of Italy, which coordinates the project, want to use Wize Mirror to address common long-term health issues that are difficult to treat once something has already gone wrong, like heart disease or diabetes.

“Prevention is the most viable approach to reduce the socio-economic burden of chronic and widespread diseases, such as cardiovascular and metabolic diseases,” they write.

Clinical trials of the device will begin next year at three sites in France and Italy, aiming to compare its readings with those from traditional medical devices.

Consumer technology that can read signals from the body to interpret underlying physical and mental health is on the cusp of becoming part of everyday life. For example, Cardiio, originally developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an app that uses a smartphone’s camera to monitor blood levels in the face and tell you your heart rate.

At MIT’s Media Lab, Javier Hernandez has looked at using mirrors for health monitoring. He also developed a program called SenseGlass, which uses Google Glass and other wearables to measure someone’s mood and help them manage emotions.

Hernandez has taught Glass to measure vital signs like pulse and respiration using just the headset’s built-in gyroscope, accelerometer and camera. They pick up the subtle head motion caused by the beating of the heart, and tease out the rise and fall of a breath from other movements.

Together with other data captured by Glass, Hernandez’s algorithms aim to give the wearer a window into their emotional state.

Hernandez says that although mirrors are great for health monitoring because we use them every day, putting them to use in this way is trickier than it sounds. “Accurate health assessments in natural settings are quite challenging due to many factors such as illumination changes, occlusions and excessive motion,” he says.


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