Electronic mirror helps manage health
AGC Inc (formerly Asahi Glass Co Ltd) has developed a mirror with a built-in computer and display and plans to start volume production in April.
The name of the mirror is “Mirrorge.” By using cameras and sensors, it estimates health conditions based on heart rate, blood pressure and facial expressions for daily health management.
AGC attached an LCD display to the back side of a specially-developed mirror and a printed circuit board (PCB) equipped with a CPU for controlling the system to the back side of the LCD display. Cameras for facial authentication and a module that emits microwaves for noncontact detection are connected to the PCB.
The total thickness of those devices is about 35mm. The new mirror is thinner than AGC’s previous product and can easily replace normal mirrors.
There have already been some electronic mirrors having similar concepts, but their reflectance is about 30% (dark), which is not a practical level. AGC succeeded in improving the reflectance to about 65%, which is equivalent to the reflectance of commonly-used washstand mirrors.
Though the company did not disclose the details of the technology, it said in a statement: “We realized it by making improvements to the surface processing and the film on the back side.”
AGC enhanced operability while improving the performance as a mirror. With noncontact sensors, menus and contents displayed on the electronic mirror can be operated without touching the mirror. Many of other companies’ products available in the market are operated by directly touching the mirrors, and finger prints and dirt are often attached to them.
AGC will combine the hardware (mirror) with software and sell it to general households and business operators. Purchasers will use the product by installing applications software that realize desired functions.
The expected main function of the mirror is the noncontact estimation of heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, etc, by using microwaves. With facial authentication using cameras, the mirror records the physical conditions of individuals and stores the data on a cloud server via Wi-Fi connection.
For example, when the mirror is used as a washstand mirror of a bathroom in the office, it becomes easier to manage the physical conditions of each employee. By checking the data against attendance data collected by the company, it can be utilized for “work-style reform,” which is being promoted by the Japanese government.
With different applications software, the mirror can be used in various ways. For example, it can deliver news by displaying newspaper or TV screen when the user is brushing his/her teeth in the washroom.
Also, it can display a recipe with an appropriate nutrient balance in accordance with the physical condition of the user. And the mirror is expected to realize new businesses by, for example, displaying advertisements in accordance with the tastes of each user.