Smart devices are everywhere today gathering and analyzing passive data that improves our everyday life (smart watches, smart homes etc.). An emerging intelligent house device like a smart mirror that provides reminders, information and entertainment could also monitor our health. With the computing power that we have today, we could track the changes in our health, response to treatment and many other things that would benefit our well-being.
With the hardware and software available today, an ordinary mirror can be modified “by placing a semi-transparent sheet of glass over a digital screen and connecting this hardware to a computer with incoming data and a camera”. Displaying information like weather, email, and calendars is the first version (version 1.0) of a smart mirror. Version 2.0 uses monitoring systems with personalized information and computer vision to aid in improving the healthcare of the user. Communicating with the cloud and multiple sources of data, the smart mirror version 2.0 uses multimodal sensors-multiple cameras, motion detection, lasers, microphones, speakers to collect and then analyze the data so it can be applied to our well-being. Can smart mirrors provide information for health enthusiasts and patients? Two fields, ophthalmology (diagnosis and treatment of eye disorder) and dermatology (diagnosis and treatment of skin disorders), could use home monitoring to reduce the traditional patient-physician interaction and constantly check the patient’s condition. Two other health fields are anthropometry (the systematic measurement of the physical properties of the human body) and functional movement. Smart mirrors could become personal trainer assistants in gyms by checking the form and condition of your body and communicating that information to a smart watch and smartphone, creating an ecosystem that can track your progress and keep you motivated. It is a very promising technology that would provide great health assistance, but it comes with its challenges. Developing software that we can trust with our health is something that should be carefully looked at. As we rely more on AI technology to perform tasks, inaccurate data might create the wrong decision and put our health in danger. As the smart mirror is constantly collecting data, privacy is another issue to evaluate. With all its benefits and challenges, a smart mirror could improve the lives of many. Considering the current circumstances in which people have to distance themselves and work from home, having a smart mirror could definitely benefit and help hospitals and clinics check and monitor our health.
My personal opinion is that such technology is with its great advantages and disadvantages. Personally, I would feel uncomfortable being monitored all the time, knowing that the technology today is not focused on security and privacy. On the other hand, it does offer something that could help those that need the medical assistance and constant checkups. It could even be implemented within the hospitals to be used as a quick checkup to offload some of the work done by doctors or nurses. A smart mirror could detect symptoms that can prevent an individual from risking their health or in some cases save a life. That is a good enough reason to embrace the challenges and tackle them one by one, moving forward to a safer and healthier future.