Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall, Who's the Biggest Lush of All? 
by Lenka Reznicek [permalink] 
This sounds positively fascinating, but scary as hell: Accenture Technology has developed a "magic mirror" that uses video and image-processing technology to generate an image of the future you, based on your eating habits, excesses and daily routine.
In Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray, the eponymous subject keeps his youthful looks while the vagaries of age are visited upon his portrait in the attic. Now a digital version of Wilde's idea is being developed to show you what you will look like in five years' time if you take no exercise, eat too much junk food and drink too much alcohol.

At Accenture Technology's lab in Sophia Antipolis, near Nice in France, a flat-screen LCD TV linked to a set of cameras and a powerful image-processing computer replaces the portrait described in Wilde's novel.

Initially the system acts just like a sophisticated "mirror" in which an image captured by a wireless camera is displayed in front of you. But that is just the start. Its main purpose is to conjure up a computer-modified image of the effects of overindulgence at the press of a button, says Accenture lab director Martin Illsey.

To do this the computer builds up a profile of your lifestyle, using a network of high-resolution cameras dotted around the house. These webcams will feed images of your everyday activities to a computer running software that is able to recognise different patterns of behaviour.

It will be able to identify, for instance, when you have spent most of the day sitting on the couch instead of on the exercise bike, and will spot visits to the fridge for snacks and drinks. Verbal or text prompts from the computer will ask you to identify what you are eating and drinking. Of course, how honest you are is up to you. [Read full article at New Scientist]
It just might be might be the perfect gift for masochists, curiosity seekers, or college students who live on beer and pizza.