Multi-award winning, MirrorMe was the World’s 1st real-time Face-Morphing App to utilise real lifestyle data.
Smoking, Obesity and Binge Drinking damage lives and cost the UK economy billions every year. There is an immediate need to promote healthy lifestyles in the young adult population where bad habits are a modern day epidemic. Previous healthy lifestyles campaigns have focussed mainly on non-personalised shock tactics or simply stating the statistical risks. We set ourselves the challenge of tackling this serious health crisis through a non-preachy and potentially playful user experience that would be personal to the user and really gets them thinking and talking about their lifestyle choices.
We started with a very simple but obvious problem; people cannot see what affect their lifestyles are having on them. We decided that if we could solve this problem we could get people thinking, talking and seeking advice on their lifestyle choices.
MirrorMe was conceived as an application that would allow you to take any photo of yourself and after entering an overview of your bad habits, see what your face would actually look like in the future. We set out to create an application that could recognise someone’s face and then apply personalised effects for ageing, binge drinking, drug abuse, sun damage, obesity and smoking.
The real innovation behind MirrorMe is that it is unique to the individual; it would have been easy to just show people what someone looks like after ageing but being able to see the results realistically on you has so much more impact.
This processes required for MirrorMe are extremely complicated and processor intensive, achieving something like this on the web is an extreme challenge and furthermore making this easily accessible is a major innovation.
The main delivery point for the application is on Facebook, we chose Facebook as it is a community where people are already engaging and discussing, by delivering our experience here we made it easy for users to access and then share their experience. We have also just released an iPhone version.
Although primarily designed to be fun, MirrorMe has some clever stuff going on behind the scenes. It utilises advanced Facial Recognition technology to detect over 86 unique points on the face and then we use these to accurately distort face shapes to show changes with ageing and weight variation and also match photo-realistic overlays to the exact contours of the individual’s face, to given a unique and scarily accurate facial distortion.
During development we met with a number of medical practitioners because we wanted to ensure that our application had basis in Medical Science. Building on expert advice and researching numerous medical studies we were able to develop the application so that it took into account medical factors, creating rules and realistic effects that can be applied to each individual user based on their age, sex, location, ethnic origin as well as their lifestyle.
The first project in the North East funded by Channel 4’s 4ip fund, along with Northern Film & Media. Winner of a Guardian Media (MEGA) Most Innovation App Award and an Interactive Media Award.
MirrorMe was freely available until 2011, when unfortunately due to running costs we were forced to remove it but with hundreds of thousands users we’re sure it had an impact on people’s lives.