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Sunday, October 16, 2011

'Smart' Mirror

What is innovation? I think Innovation = creativity + implementation. The ingredients of innovation are people, their needs, technology and business. You can have a great idea but how do you put it into action? The world is changing at a furious pace and today’s physicists, technologists and designers are empathetic to people’s needs and are looking for ways to integrate internet technologies into the home of the future. You will be surprised at what they are cooking up in their laboratories. For example, Microsoft and New York Times Research & Development Lab have both been working on the “Smart Mirror.” Like the fairytale, “mirror, mirror on the wall” can provide you with all kinds of information built from Kinect motion-sensing technology. The magic mirror turns into a screen of information by reading physical cues from its user and by using voice recognition. You can get the daily NY Times news, check email or calendar, use it to go shopping or check on your social networks. Below, the picture on the left shows how the screen recognizes prescriptions and off-the-shelf drugs and lists  directions for use.

The picture on the right shows how the mirror has the ability to track your body and overlay clothes if you can’t decide what to wear on that particular day. How cool is that? If the technology can mock up an outfit for its user, then can the technology make suggestions for your teeth or skin? Does your teeth need whitening? Can it detect the onset of tooth decay? Can it detect skin blemishes or suggest the right creams or makeup to conceal skin?  What about cancer of the skin? Not presently; however,"the field of photonics (use of the photon, cousin of the electron) can be used to advance these concepts using the colors of light scattered and emitted from people's skin or teeth says,"Robert Alfano, Distinguished Professor of Science and Engineering at C.C.N.Y.  The future photonic screen has the potential to revolutionize the field of medicine by improving a persons healthcare and possibly offering communication with a health professional. FIOS has already started to enter the home using fiber optic cables which is one of the key elements of photonics where light travels into fibers similar to water flowing thru pipes. Are you listening Corning, GE,Texas Instruments, Phillips, IBM ,Olympus and Verizon?  I am sure there are endless possibilities for this technology in medi-photonics and its cross-over into the world of architecture. Stay tuned...

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