I don’t like the mirrors inside the fitting rooms in retail stores. I like my body a lot, but no matter how much a person works out, those mirrors seem to be unforgiving no matter how much they adjust the lighting. It’s always been my opinion that if they could make those mirrors a little nicer, they might be able to sell more clothes. This virtual mirror could be one step in that direction. It will make you want to buy the clothes you try on in the dressing room.
This virtual mirror isn’t a reality yet, but it’s close. It’s all part of the Emotion Evoking System created by Shigeo Yoshida and his team at the University of Tokyo in Japan. It’s quite ingenious really. With the use of a webcam, it will produce your face in the mirror, but it won’t be exactly like your face actually is. It will manipulate the corners of your mouth and eyes, and it will make you appear to be more happy or sad. According to the people who tried this, seeing their faces as happier faces actually made them feel more happy.
The volunteers tried on scarves while experiencing this technology, and according to this study, this virtual mirror made them want to buy the scarf. It’s seems like a big jump to say that manipulating a person’s emotional state with a webcam and a virtual mirror would influence a person’s preferences and buying decisions. However, there’s apparently some validity to it.
I think if a store used this type of mirror without telling their customers, it could be construed as misleading and a breach of trust. On the other hand, if the customers know about it ahead of time, people might just have fun with it… and buy more things than they normally would, even if they don’t realize it. You can read more about this on the source articles linked below.