Researchers Are Developing A Mirror To Screen For Chronic Disease


Researchers from 11 European research institutes are working in a consortium to develop a bathroom mirror that will passively monitor people for early warning signs of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. Researchers hope that by developing a technology-laden mirror capable of scanning and analyzing the people that use it every day, costly medical conditions might be diagnosed earlier, and could thus be treated more effectively and with less expensive therapies.


Called the Wize Mirror, the technology behind the new mirror is impressive. The mirror will reportedly capture video and still images of the face, and then apply algorithms to dissect the visual data, extracting key biometric data points, including blood oxygenation, heart rate, and hemoglobin levels. Different cameras train on the user’s face, attempting to extract and trend emotional status over time. Weight gain and loss is also estimated and trended. Lastly, samples of the user’s breath are collected and analyzed to trend how much the person is drinking or smoking. These data points are then fed into an algorithm that generates an overall well-being score, in addition to providing early warning alerts if certain symptoms present that are consistent with either cardiovascular disease or Type-2 diabetes.

In addition to acting as a quantified-self support tool, researchers hope that the mirrors will help them begin to study behavior modification at a more granular level. By running various programs aimed at changing a particular unhealthy habit, and then monitoring results across a patient population with the mirror, researchers will be able to see in more real-time what is working and what is not.

The project was launched in November 2013 and is scheduled to conclude next year. Development work is currently being finalized, and clinical trials will begin early next year at three sites across Europe. It has raised nearly $6 million in funding thus far, including an $800,000 grant from the European Union.

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