Mirror – Mirror on the Wall

Mike_Mathews_Headshot Mirror – Mirror on the Wall
Michael Mathews, Vice President of Technology and Innovation, Oral Roberts University

What is the greatest form factor of them all?

The world of technology along with the integration of multiple technologies continues to advance at an incredible rate. For those who design, create, and manage technology it can appear overwhelming and even exhausting. In fact, many people who have been around the technology field often feel that certain breakthroughs are merely old concepts re-packaged. In essence they are not enthralled by every new gizmo, gadget, or novelty technology that hits the press. However, it is important to note that many of these same folks can readily identify breakthrough technologies that shift how people engage with themselves and the world.

Examples of the breakthrough technologies that were identified as game changers include the Internet, iPad, Smart Phone, web browser, Blockchain, and the combination of AI and machine learning. What makes these technologies easily identifiable is when the design incorporates a new form-factor. The definition of a form-factoris … an aspect of hardware design which defines and prescribes the size, shape, and other physical specifications of components, particularly in consumer electronics and electronic packaging.[i]

The greatest shift in form-factor design during the last 40 years (in my opinion) was the Smartphone. The Smartphone design was unique, yet truly morphed the form factors of the iPad, iPod, music device, and cell phone together. This form factor design changed the way people engage with a phone, listened to music, took pictures, provided video recording, and interacted with the internet and social media.  The form factor design of the smartphone transformed the consumer version of a camera, music player, video recorder, photo album, GPS, web conference devices, and data storage devices. Needless to say this one individual form-factor transitionedthe way humans digitally interact with a computer, themselves, and each other.

Predicting the future form factor that will revolutionize the way humans interact

The next major form-factor in which humans will interact with personal data, global-communications, self-navigation, self-help, data analytics, music, video, education, fitness, artificial intelligence and robotic functionality will be the glass mirror. The next breakthrough in designing the way all digital things are brought together in one new form factor will be the glass mirror that has been used for centuries to reflect the human engagement with self.

The new form-factor of a glass mirror has all the attributes to make it the single largest shift in human-to-digital-and-visual interaction. The glass mirror combined with the small new computer design called Raspberry PI[ii] hidden within the mirror frame has made significant advancements in personal fitness by combining the mirror, smartphone, and wearable watch. All three synchronized together provide a premier digital experience that accesses personal data, AI, machine learning data, personal trainers, eCourses, and text to speech narration. The mirror itself provides the real-life experience of both virtual and augmented reality (Mirrored Reality). The Figure-1 below shows one of the first Fitness Mirrors[iii] as one of the first mirror form-factor designs. The mirror allows the trainee to verbally or physically activate the computer (Raspberry pi) hidden behind the mirror. They can connect to a live personal trainer, take an online course pertaining to fitness, and display all the vital attributes of big data-to-personal data.

The human fascination with the mirror combined with the emergence of AI, virtual digital assistants, machine learning, eLearning, and 5G connectivity allows the human being to become front-and-center instead of the technology itself. Up to this point in the history of computers, the device has taken center stage to the human being. This has caused may undesired social, physical, and psychological outcomes.  We have allowed the labeling oftechnology 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 etc. versus a focus on civilization 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. We even went as far as labeling one of the most pervasive technologies in the world after inanimate things … the Internet of Things (IoT). This will go down in history as the worst named technology ever label – as we made it about devices and things and not the opportunity to help advance humanity. Rather, it should be the Internet of Freedom,or the Internet by the People-for-the-People, or the Internet of Dignity; but labeling it as ‘things’ has depersonalized the human soul, mind, and being. This may get reversed as the focus on using the most productive technologies can be seen side-by-side and fully-engaged with the human being.

The Future of Mirrored Reality as the Future Form Factor

In 2017, I re-coinedthe term mixed reality to mirrored reality — simply because I knew it was about helping human beings versus advancing technology by itself. Little did I know that within two years the ‘mirror’ become its own personalized reality. For this purpose we are labeling the prototype MQ-Mirrorfor Mirrored Intelligence. With the computer behind the mirror integrated with artificial intelligence and instant access to the world of knowledge, a human is now at the center of the technology versus the device. The human along with the mirror personalizes all experiences and engagements by opening a portal into the digital world. The Figure-2 below represents the engagement of the whole person engaging with themselves mapped against visual data in a visual and audible fashion. The computer functionality behind the glass mirror mixed with personalized AI/Machine Learning allows the mirror to perform everything that a computer can. Universities like Oral Roberts University who have integrated wearable watches and all educational success factors can now simply integrate them to the mirror. These universities who have completed their digital transformation projects are now able to move everything to the new form-factors such as the smart mirrors and smart glasses. In essence, they are making a subset of the ‘Smart Campus’ and providing ‘Everything-as-a-Service’ from their own ecosystem.

With a glass mirror capable of engaging and mirroring the human actions with all the integrations of AI, machine learning, deep learning, social media, online instruction, social skills, personal skills, wearables, cameras, speech-to-text, etc. the mirror becomes ‘intelligent’ and fully integrated with the human being. This new form-factor may slow down and even reverse the new research proving that extensive engagement with Smartphones is causing depression and anxiety.

The fascination with mirrors and ourselves has been around for centuries. This fascination has caused many people to decry ‘vanity’ as people spend endless hours envisioning who they are or who they could be– compared to what they have imagined in their mind. In the year 2019 we are now capable of seeing and expressing ourselves against all the worlds of known truths, knowledge, intelligence, and data that allow interactions with people, people groups, and solutions for education, beauty, wisdoms, and solutions for addictions, etc.

Engaging a real human being that can visually and physically interact with the entire virtual universe of knowledge, wisdom and truth has endless possibilities.  Just as the smartphone form-factor transitioned the way humans digitally interact with a computer, themselves, and each other; the Intelligent Mirror Reality will visually and digitally transition the way the world of knowledge and society engage. However, the focus will be on the human side versus the device side of intelligence.

An individual will be able to wake up in the morning and interact with the MQ-Mirror and say ‘Alexa, what was my productivity yesterday?’ The digital assistant with Alexa AI will be able to report all personalized productivity items that the individual feels as productive or important; such as sleep patterns, fitness ratings, heart rate, 401K, monthly budget to date, tasks completed, and individual smartphone utilization – followed by suggested tips for the day. With the MQ-Mirror having the same mobile apps synced with the smartphone, the individual can tell Alexa to order their favorite Starbucks drink at the nearby Starbucks. The machine learning with the AI software will begin the journey of learning the nuances, likes and dislikes of the individual in order to advance the engagements and suggestions – because technology should be about the person vs. the device. Students will be able to instantly ask and display all the student success factors that help them understand, navigate, and set daily and personal goals for their academic achievement.

[i] Form Factor; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_factor_(design)

[ii]Rasberry Pi; https://www.raspberrypi.org/

[iii] Fitness mirror; https://mirror.co