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.

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

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