Smile Mirror for Cancer Patients Only Shows Reflection if They Smile
A new high-tech mirror intended for cancer patients only shows a person’s reflection if they’re smiling. The device has a built-in camera with facial recognition to detect whether a person is smiling or not. If the person is not smiling, the “mirror” is just a white opaque surface.
The creator, Berk Ilhan, made the mirror in hopes of uplifting the spirits of people who have cancer. The idea, he told CNN, came after speaking to a cancer patient.
She told me in the first days after her diagnosis, 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, [we feel] happiness.
Smiling, even if it is a fake or forced smile, has been shown to reduce stress levels in people. In a study, participants held chopsticks in their mouths to produce a smile while doing a stressful activity while others held a neutral expression. Those who smiled reported experiencing a more positive mood than those with the neutral expression.
There doesn’t seem to be any studies linking smiling with helping cancer patients, though some hospitals and treatment centers offer laughter therapy.
While the science is there to show some of the positive effects of smiling, many responses to the Smile Mirror weren’t so positive.
Telling my Stage IV wife she's only visible if she smiles is an insult patients and their supporters don't need – we have enough as it is.
— Alan Edwards (@AlanGedeEdwards) October 25, 2017
Cancer patients don't need a mirror that will force them to smile. They need a world that will let them cry: https://t.co/ZhUQ8vYkiz
— Jacob Brogan (@Jacob_Brogan) October 25, 2017
When I was going through chemo i couldn’t smile and when I did it felt fake. I feel like this would have pissed me off.
— ????spooky style ???? (@hello_jaime) October 24, 2017
There’s so much pressure put on cancer patients to be positive. Let them be human & feel their pain. Don’t add to it. Ever. No matter what!
— CL (@CLC1905) October 25, 2017
As if cancer patients don’t have enough pressure to be positive, a mirror that forces them to fake smile. Nope. https://t.co/1yLZ1sF8td
— Suleika Jaouad (@suleikajaouad) October 25, 2017
Know what would make me smile? Throwing this onto the ground and stomping it into a million tiny pieces …
— Lisa McKinnon (@805foodie) October 24, 2017
Hello. In news of the world's stupidest & most obnoxious & plain wrong tech inventions…a mirror for cancer patients which only works when they smile. Because stupidity. –> https://t.co/yCSBtsiBak
— HannahJane Parkinson (@ladyhaja) October 25, 2017
Cancer patient: *needs to check eyes for jaundice*
Mirror: WELL FUCKING SMILE THEN https://t.co/gRiSTx3hZD
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) October 25, 2017
The Smile Mirror costs between $2,000 and $3,000, but Ilhan said he will be launching a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to lower the price and make more of the mirrors. Ilhan said he would also like to donate them to hospitals.
Responding to the controversy his product has stirred, Ilhan told The Mighty, “It certainly is a very bad feeling to be misunderstood,” and added that those interested in understanding the full body of his work can watch his thesis.
Photo via Twitter