Keeping an eye on the health of your organs could be as easy as looking in the mirror each morning, thanks to a device being developed by scientists.
The Wize Mirror will use an array of sensors to detect changes in an individual’s face and breath that point to the onset of diabetes, a heart attack or other cardiovascular diseases. It will then provide them with a health score and suggest lifestyle changes.
Doctors believe that prevention is the most effective strategy for combating heart disease, the leading cause of death worldwide. Diet, lack of exercise, stress, tobacco and alcohol use are all strong risk factors.
The Wize Mirror is being developed by Semeoticons, a research group backed by the European Commission, which has provided most of the funding for the €5.4 million (£3.8 million) project.
A multispectral imaging system, which uses five cameras to capture specific wavelengths of light and a skin heater to stimulate the face, analyses tissue for fat content and blood for haemoglobin levels.
A 3D scanner constructs a digital model of the face for analysis by software for shape changes, such as weight gain or swelling, while software checks for signs of stress, fatigue or anxiety.
The Wize Sniffer captures breath samples to detect toxic molecules that suggest the use of tobacco and alcohol. The whole process takes about a minute. The Semeoticons researchers are developing a personalised guidance system that crunches the information from the cameras and breath sampler to provide personalised lifestyle recommendations.
Clinical trials of the Wize Mirror will begin next year in Italy and France.
“The face is the pre-eminent channel of communication among humans: it is a mirror of status, emotions and mood,” the researchers from the National Research Council of Italy, in Pisa, said in a paper published in Biosystems Engineering. They believe that the face provides some of the strongest clues about our health.
The researchers said that effective prevention of heart disease involved empowering the public to monitor their health and change their lifestyles accordingly.
They pointed to studies showing that most people who bought a wearable device to monitor their health stopped using it within six months, so to capture health information an “unobtrusive, lifestyle-compatible” procedure such as the mirror was essential.
The Wize Mirror is one of the more advanced forays by researchers into smart mirror technology.
MemoMi Labs, an American company, has developed a smart mirror for fashion retailers which lets customers try on clothes virtually and is currently being tested in luxury retailers in the US such as Neiman Marcus.