Smile Mirror: Made for cancer patients, it only works if you smile in front of it
Industrial designer Berk Ilhan developed the Smile Mirror to uplift the spirits of cancer patients who have to live with the illness.tech Updated: Oct 27, 2017 13:51 IST
Bleak, monstrous and dark -- this is how people described Smile Mirror, a device created for cancer patients that only reflects when a person smiles in front of it.
Industrial designer Berk Ilhan developed the Smile Mirror to uplift the spirits of cancer patients who have to live with the illness.
Critics, however, are sceptical about the device, which they say forces patients to display an emotion they might not be feeling. A report in The Guardian said the mirror was “one of the more idiotic products to be mooted” and the evidence for its effect was “dubious”.
The designer, from Turkey, says he learnt from research that smiling can elevate mood and lower stress. “I learned morale and social support are two very important factors that can positively change a patient’s experience,” Ilhan is quoted as saying by CNN Tech.
He developed the product over two years while he was a student at the School of Visual Arts in New York. Seeing someone close suffer due to cancer motivated him to build the “magical” device that “cultivates joy”, according to the Ilhan’s official website.
SMILE MIRROR. Smile Mirror allows you to see yourself only when you smile. It functions by recognizing the movement of facial muscles and is based on the principle of creating reasons for people to physically smile and by doing so, feel emotionally happy. It is part of a larger project called Uplift, which focuses on opportunities to create joyful moments for cancer patients. One of the many cancer survivors Berk interviewed told him that in the first days since her initial diagnosis, "it was weird to look at myself and acknowledge that I had cancer in my body." These words inspired Berk to create a playful mirror that allows you to see yourself only when you smile. Seeing the power of your smile, and your smiling face on the Smile Mirror leads to bringing appreciation to that moment of connecting with self and making peace with the self image. According to the "facial feedback hypothesis," our facial expressions affect how we feel. Indeed, if we flex our facial muscles to smile, our brains think that something good happened, results in us feeling happiness. The Patent pending invention will not only make it possible for people to "gift a smile" to loved ones combatting a difficulty, but also will uplift people in private and public places such as home, office, hospital waiting rooms, patient rooms, clinics for adults and kids, dental clinics, subway stations, courts, and many other places where smiling would change the ambience. click for video -->> http://bit.ly/2b1NH5N #laughtertherapy #design #industrialdesign #productsofdesign #smileproducts #endorphins #experiencedesign #innovation #designingforemotions
The maker also says he spoke with a patient and she told him “it was difficult for her to look in the mirror and acknowledge she had cancer”.
“Our facial expressions affect how we feel. If we flex our facial muscles to smile, our brains think that something good happened and as a result, happiness,” Ilhan says.
The mirror “asks them (patients) to ignore—perhaps even to reject — the small sanctuary of what they feel within. Cancer is already alienating, and this is alienation of another sort,” wrote Jacob Brogan in an article for Slate.
Takes Ehrenreich's 'smile or die' to a whole other, bleaker level: mirror for cancer patients forces them to smile https://t.co/ftSdik8npB— Dr Kim Allen (@DrKimAllen1) October 25, 2017
The plug-in device consists of a mirror, a built-in camera and facial recognition software that captures the face. It can be mounted on a wall or placed like a desktop.
The Smile Mirror is being produced in a limited quantity and it will cost between $2000 to $3000.