Smart mirror concept encourages you to reflect whenever you look at yourself

There are many things that we do out of habit in our lives, especially daily activities that we’ve gotten so used to that we could perform them with our eyes closed, at least figuratively speaking. Moving on autopilot is an important survival skill for modern-day humans, but it isn’t always a good strategy to apply to all things all the time, especially for our mental health. The idea of mindfulness or being present in the moment sounds almost so alien that people presume it requires some rigorous training or mental fortitude to do when all you really need is to pause from time to time and simply be aware of where you are and what you’re doing. That’s the kind of practice that this smart mirror product design tries to develop, motivating you to look inside yourself each time you look at your reflection.

Designer: Nahyun Kwon, Dayeong Kim, Mingyeong Chio

We look at a mirror several times a day but only a few of those times are we consciously checking ourselves for more than a split second. Whether we’re brushing our teeth, washing our faces, or even applying makeup, chances are we are thinking of other things while doing those actions. We don’t see or even recognize ourselves or our states, even when it’s directly staring at us.

MIO is a mirror that encourages you to take a good hard look at yourself whenever you use it. Rather than nagging you multiple times a day to pause and exercise mindfulness, it simply associates the action with an activity you already do regularly until it becomes second nature. And it doesn’t do so using intrusive reminders or heavy-handed features but with gestures and controls that are integral to using the mirror in the first place.

A lever on the side, for example, is needed to turn on the LED lights inside the frame for better illumination. The action and the control’s form are akin to a “thumbs up” gesture, reminding you to give yourself a pat on the back once in a while. There’s a “smile button” on the lower edge of the mirror that you can slide up to start a 1-minute recording of yourself, inviting you to smile your biggest smile or, at the very least, be truthful to the emotions you’re feeling at the moment. That button also acts as a timer for that recording as it slowly slides back down to its original position.

There is a separate circular display near the top and off to the side that shows the time, the weather, or other information you might need while preparing yourself and your face. Cycling through these screens of information requires touching the display, almost like giving it a high-five that, as silly as it might sound doing it by yourself, always generates good feelings. Whichever of MIO’s functions you use, it becomes a gentle reminder to take stock of your current emotional and mental state, at least long enough to see your true self before you rush off and lose yourself in the busyness of life.