News & Events
October 10, 2014
Could a smart mirror save your life?

Looking in the mirror in the morning can help us assess when we are under the weather. Now researchers are using modern technology to capture information about physical appearance to assess the state of health of elderly people

Smart mirrors equipped with low-cost wireless video cameras that monitor a person’s emotional and physiological state are being developed as part of the EU-funded project USEFIL.

A simple camera behind the mirror gathers data on physiological indicators such as pupil size and skin colour using facial detection algorithms. The results provide clues about the person’s emotional state and may also spot serious health issues. The results can be displayed as infographics on the mirror’s surface, along with a calendar and a clock. Carers and health professionals can also access this material in order to prescribe medication, schedule appointments and send reminders.

Users in Greece, Israel and the UK are currently trialling a simplified smart mirror prototype as part of a suite of systems aimed at creating smart living environments for older people, with initial results suggesting it is easy to use and understand.

Other components of the USEFIL system include a smart watch, which can notify emergency services in the case of an accident, a tablet PC, a Kinect system and a smart web TV device. All these systems are interconnected. So, for example, the smart watch can be used as an easy and safe way to log in to the USEFIL site in the TV.

Experts estimate that a third of Europeans will be over 65 by 2060 and the pressure is on to develop innovative ways to help this age group stay healthy and engaged with day-to-day life.