Medical Semeiotics goes digital
Our story began four years ago, when a group of scientists imagined the possibility to move medical Semeiotics - the study of physical signs produced by diseases - to the digital realm. Their wish was to make this invaluable knowledge accessible to everybody and empower people to self-manage their health through a device that easily fits daily-life routines.
Today, thanks to the tireless and enthusiastic work of ten European partners, that wish came true. SEMEOTICONS, the European Project born from that idea and funded under the 7th Framework Programme, developed a multisensory device, the Wize Mirror. It looks like a common mirror, which seamlessly blends in our daily-life routines. While we sit in front of the mirror - either as a part of our daily morning routine at home, or at the gym or the pharmacy - the mirror detects signs of cardio-metabolic risk on our face, and advises us on how to reduce the risk by improving our lifestyle. It may seem magic, but it is not, it is science and technology that allow us to see beyond the visible!
A precious ally for better health and quality of life
Cardio-metabolic diseases are the leading causes of mortality worldwide and their spread on a global scale is putting a strain on social resources and health systems. Prevention is the way forward and a viable instrument in our hand, as we can counteract the main risk factors by following a healthy lifestyle.
The Wize Mirror helps us become active actors in our health management. It acquires videos, images and 3D scans of our face and a breath sample while we stand in front of it. It processes the data to detect markers corresponding to the main cardio-metabolic risk factors by analysing face shape and appearance, breath composition and face skin composition and function. It estimates our Wellness Index, a measure of our health status with respect to the risk of a cardio-metabolic disease. Upon the evaluation of the index and its track over time, the Wize Mirror offers personalized guidance that drives us towards lifestyle improvements in terms of healthy diet, regular physical activity, reduction of noxious habits and stress. The Mirror offers recommendations on different targets, including stress and anxiety management, tailoring them based on modulators (e.g., initial health condition, reported self-efficacy, emotional strength).
The work done and the road ahead
Three Mirror prototypes underwent a validation campaign in three clinical sites, in Italy and France, between July and October 2016. It was an amazing experience that involved 72 volunteers for three months. It enabled us to get very positive results about the soundness of Mirror measurements and to see the device in action, gathering feedback from the volunteers. They were thrilled by the interaction with the Mirror and gradually put in practice the suggestions received. Proud of these very positive results, we all want to see them take shape in the real world. We are working on a start-up initiative that will make the Wize Mirror enter the mass market. Our first target is the well-being sector, an industry advancing rapidly in recent years. The Mirror can easily enrich the services of gyms, fitness centres, spas, and hotels, offering the customers personalized coaching. Yet, our preferred target is the residential sector. We offer a technology-enhanced piece of house-ware that offers a pleasant user experience and blends seamlessly into daily-life routines, at a price comparable to a big TV set, in the near future. We are also shaping extensions of the Wize Mirror functionalities (e.g. making it interact with wearable devices), and exploring new application domains.
SEMEOTICONS drew to an end last October 2016. It has been a challenging but full of satisfactions experience. The idea of a magic mirror able to read one’s face has attracted a huge interest by print and online media and granted us contacts all over the world with clinical and industrial actors interested in future endeavours.
The Project organized a final event in January in Pisa, to give forum to fresh perspectives on Information Technologies for self-monitoring and disease prevention, with speakers from both academia and industry. This was a chance for a crew from Euronews Futuris to come visit us and film the Wize Mirror in action.