Industrial designer Berk Ilhan invented the Smile Mirror to uplift the spirits of cancer patients. The plug-in device looks like a tablet with a built-in camera and an opaque surface made with a smart material triggered by proprietary software. It includes facial recognition technology that captures the face.
The surface becomes reflective, like an traditional mirror, when it recognizes a smile. Just like a conventional mirror, it can hang on the wall or sit on a table.
Ilhan, originally from Turkey, spent two years designing and developing the product.
While attending the School of Visual Arts in New York for a master’s degree, he conceptualized a portfolio of products aimed at improving the quality of life of cancer patients on an emotional and social level.
He spent a few weeks at various cancer hospitals in Turkey speaking with patients, oncologists and caregivers.
“I learned morale and social support are two very important factors that can positively change a patient’s experience,” Ilhan told CNN Tech.
He honed in on laughter, calling it a “powerful tool.” Research indicates smiling and laughter can decrease stress and boost the body’s immune system.