The Wize Mirror knows if you’ve been drinking too much or eating foods you shouldn’t. It can sense if you’ve got high cholesterol or are on the way to getting diabetes. And it does all of this without ever taking a blood sample or getting you to pee in a cup.
Under development by 11 European research groups, the mirror isn’t like any looking glass you’ve seen before, and it sounds barely believable. But the scientists behind the project are confident they can diagnose a string of health problems just by looking at people’s faces. So, soon you could be checking your health as well as your appearance, as in Mirror, mirror on the wall… tell me if I’m drinking too much?
“We want to give people the possibility to monitor themselves,” says Massimo Martinelli, one the engineers working on the Semeoticons project. “We would like them to change their lifestyle, so we suggest information about diet, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and smoking.”
Behind the glass is a series of “multispectral” cameras. One of these is designed to check for blood flow and oxygenation in the face, based on the amount of green light that’s absorbed and the amount that returns back. Another uses ultraviolet light to illuminate “advanced glycation end products” (AGEs)–substances that have been linked with diabetes and other diseases. And the mirror also has a breathalyzer, the “Wize Sniffer,” that can detect blood sugar levels indicative of high rates of drinking and smoking.
Martinelli says the mirror isn’t meant to be definitive. The idea is to offer a health guide without someone having to do very much to get a reading. There’s no need for wearables, mobile phone attachments, or data apps.
“The idea is to put it in people’s houses, or at gyms and pharmacies,” he says. “You don’t have to wear anything, so it’s really easy.”
The three-year project is now in its second year, and no decisions have been made about commercializing an end-project. But, if developed fully, Martinelli says the mirror could be self-learning, so its diagnoses would improve the more people it comes across.
It sounds like a good idea, though we’ll have to wait on the final mirror to judge properly.