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Mirror, mirror: A wellness system gets smart and beautiful

Although many parts of our lives are fully enhanced by smart technology and ubiquitous connectivity, the most intimate of all spaces – the bath – has yet to completely embrace innovation. Lately our designers have become rather curious about engaging tech to move the bath from a place of, well, vanity, to a place of overall wellbeing.

Each morning as we prepare to step out in the world – before a blissful night’s sleep is interrupted by the demands of our busy lives – most of us spend a few minutes in front of a mirror. This moment of personal reflection is an opportunity to feel good in every sense of the word.

As an entry point for client engagement, our team wanted to provoke the design community to pay more attention to moments in the mirror and ask: what else can be brought to the personal routine in that space? For creative inspiration, we drew on the tale of Snow White to move from a fictional “magic mirror” to a very real, modern, tangible vanity system that would embody holistic health and beauty.

In the details

Senior design director, Kuen Chang saw the classic fairy tale as “a fantasy that could now be playfully realized through tech” in the physical form. So armed with research telling us that the furniture and fixtures market suffers from low brand recognition and a lack of customer loyalty, we set out to design an industry-defining product suite that encompasses a smart mirror, a smart mat, a vanity, and fixtures – all in one beautiful unit.

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Ultimately, Mirror, Mirror became the concept that would take the idea of “reflection” and health-inspired confidence to the next level.

Smart mirror modes

Mirror, Mirror became the concept that would take the idea of “reflection” and health-inspired confidence to the next level.
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The system’s smart mirror component encourages wellness through three digital modes designed to holistically refresh body and mind: Mood, Hydration, and Skin health.

One takeaway Kuen shares for those designing around behavior change is to “focus on the emotional rather than the rational” early on. With Mirror, Mirror, for example, it was critical that the health component of the digital content come across as appropriately playful and engaging. The user needs to naturally engage with the tech element so they aspire (and feel inspired) to stay hydrated, to take their vitamins, to have a great day ¬– and to live a healthy lifestyle.

On Mirror, Mirror’s reflective surface, a cloud icon appears when Mood is activated – the mode that truly differentiates this smart mirror. Based on personal preferences, Mood greets the user with friendly interactions that provide inspiration, encourage positive self-talk, or guide inner contemplation.

The raindrop icon indicates Hydration, the mode that uses sensors to measure the body’s degree of hydration. When the user steps onto the mat in front of the vanity, a fun graphic projection “fills” their image in the mirror to its current H2O level, which just might encourage them to drink more water.

The fingerprint icon signals that the Skin Health mode is active. Skin protection is the main goal, so the user may be asked if they’ve applied SPF or be reminded to take recommended supplements and schedule an annual skin cancer screening.

Exploration

Mirror, Mirror became the concept that would take the idea of “reflection” and health-inspired confidence to the next level.
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As with most design explorations, we hit a few bumps. One of the big debates among our design team was how to ensure that the concept expression itself would not be limiting and would allow consumers to imagine the vanity suite fitting into their personal style and décor.

We ultimately came up with a modular system, deconstructing components so it can be configured to seamlessly enhance traditional, modern, and other design aesthetics. Mirror, Mirror can be customized with an extra vanity or a table attachment – and by choosing a hue for the mat and finishes for the sink and fixtures. Quality ceramic, wood, metal, and glass fabrications evoke a finely crafted piece of furniture.

Digital meets physical

Mirror, Mirror became the concept that would take the idea of “reflection” and health-inspired confidence to the next level.
We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com

As our concept evolved through rounds of design iteration, we took full advantage of the intersection of digital and physical.

We developed Mirror, Mirror’s UI to offer a purely positive, empathetic experience that makes the user feel secure. Its aesthetic seamlessly merges with popular social media AR filters. The voice-activated AI smart mirror is engineered to pair with existing voice control systems. Its curved edges merge into the bath environment, fully immersing the user in AR that’s a window to their health.

When the user walks into the bathroom, a motion sensor activates the vanity lights. Built-in mat technology triggers the illuminated mirror to greet them with customized content. To ensure privacy in this most intimate of spaces, topographically embedded sensors use infrared technology instead of a camera. And the interaction modes use encouraging, playful language intended to inspire.

The snapshot — our designers weigh in

  • A few words that best describe the concept? Holistic beauty, playful, smart, contextual
  • What’s the product’s top feature? A magical mirror that’s interactive, smart, and connected
  • Reason to desire the product? To live a more healthy, beautiful life
Mirror, Mirror became the concept that would take the idea of “reflection” and health-inspired confidence to the next level.
We strive to provide individuals with disabilities equal access to our website. If you would like information about this content we will be happy to work with you. Please email us at: McKinsey_Website_Accessibility@mckinsey.com

Mirror, Mirror was conceived and created by Terence Kwan, Nick Ross, Mihoko Ouchi, Angela Sevilla, Kuen Chang, Germain Verbrackel, and Loriana Mitchell.

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