What will you look like in 10 years?

What will you look like in 10 years?

It may now be possible to find out what you will like in the future with a "magic mirror" that gives you a reflection that ages you and reflects the toll that bad habits may be taking on your life.
It may now be possible to find out what you will like in the future with a "magic mirror" that gives you a reflection that ages you and reflects the toll that bad habits may be taking on your life.

A real water lover, Jon Melko figures he's fit.

“Very active. If I'm not working, I'm usually in the water diving, swimming, fishin',” said Melko.

But he has some bad habits, too.

“Smoking, occasionally drinking, social drinker, fast food because I'm always on the go,” said Melko.

So knowing these things aren't exactly healthy, he wonders what the toll will be on his body a couple years from now if he keeps it up. Well, this special digital device may have his answer.

“Rather than simply provide reflection, what it does is make a transformation on the image and show it back to the person. And, that transformation is intended to approximate what somebody might look like if somebody continues to engage in a prolonged set of behaviors,” said Accenture Labs Research Director Andrew Fano.

It's called a Persuasive Mirror. Under development by Accenture Labs, the hope is people will be able to see how they'll look in the future and maybe change behaviors because of it.

“The idea is a picture is worth a thousand warnings,” said Fano.

How does it work? You answer a list of questions about your habits. From how often you exercise to how much TV you watch. Whether you smoke or visit the fridge a lot. That information is input into a special software program which then matches your data with pictures taken by digital cameras connected to the mirror.

“What we do to make the mirror aspect of this work is interpolate an intermediate image. And, it's on this intermediate image that we apply a series of transformations that are intended to show the effect of certain behaviors,” said Fano.

But this is no toy.  The lab sees this mirror as a tool for health providers in the future. That’s why researchers at the University of California San Diego recently put it to the test.  They just completed a study to see how persuasive the mirror might be. Their subjects were children, a group of major concern when it comes to obesity.

“This is a common problem that needs a new way of thinking about it,” said Jeannie Huang with UCSD.

But the mirror could work on any age group and on any behavior. The concept can be very convincing.

“It's one thing to tell someone to stop smoking, or to eat less. It's another to show them what happens if they don't, or also to show them what happens if they do,” says Fango.

The results of the study done in San Diego will be out sometime in May. They'll take that information and use it to continue fine tuning the mirror before taking it to the rest of the medical community.

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