Berk Ilhan, a Turkish industrial designer, has invented the Smile Mirror that will not show your reflection unless you smile at it. The concept may seem frisky, but it is intended to lift up the mood and spirits of cancer patients.
The device looks like a tablet, and it needs to be plugged in. It’s opaque in surface, and is designed with a smart material that is activated by proprietary software. It incorporates facial recognition technology that captures the person’s face through a built-in camera.
The Smile Mirror surface starts to reflect, just like a conventional mirror, upon recognising a smile. Like a traditional mirror, it could be placed on a table or hung on the wall.
While Ilhan attended the School of Visual Arts in New York for a master’s degree, he ideated a range of products with an aim to improve the quality of life of cancer patients socially as well as emotionally.
He dedicated a few weeks to cancer patients, their caregivers and oncologists at different cancer hospitals in Turkey. According to Ilhan, laughter is a “powerful tool” and social support and morale are two crucial aspects that have the power to positively impact a patient’s experience. Moreover, research has proven that laughter and smiling can reduce stress levels and uplift the body’s immune system.
Ilhan’s Smile Mirror inspiration was derived from a cancer survivor. She had told Ilhan that it was difficult for her to look into the mirror and acknowledge the fact that she had cancer in her initial days after diagnosis.
It took two years for Ilhan to design and develop the mirror. The Smile Mirror is available in rather small quantities, and is priced between $2,000 and $3,000.
Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform, will soon launch the product that will ensure that enough funds are raised to manufacture the mirror in larger quantities, which in turn will bring down the cost to $500 and below. Ilhan dreams to donate Smile Mirrors to as many hospitals as possible. He aims to appeal to varied audiences as well.