This self-care mirror could help reduce anxiety (and it's being designed by high school students)

May 18 2018, 5:09 am

It’s not uncommon for children and teens to experience the symptoms of more than one anxiety disorder, according to Anxiety BC. Now thanks to a project that made a recent appearance at the BC Tech Summit, they’re learning the importance of self-care management through a helpful tool.

A team of Port Coquitlam students in grades nine to 11 from Riverside Secondary dedicated their spare time to a project that promotes self-care, in the form of a mirror. (We live in the future, and it is amazing.)

These students don’t take class together, but were connected through a teacher at the school who brings his passion for tech to projects centered around social good.

A couple months back, the group connected with a mentor at Microsoft Vancouver‘s maker space, The Garage – a hub where employees, interns, and community partners come together to design and explore. And under the leadership of both teacher and mentor, the students  immersed themselves in the tech world as they developed an innovative self-care mirror.

The Riverside Secondary team at the BC Tech Summit

How the mirror works

The students are focusing on self-care and trying to detect emotion in users to provide ways to reduce anxiety such as giving positive feedback, playing soothing music, or suggesting relaxation recommendations.

Using Microsoft’s Cognitive Services, the mirror uses facial detection to determine stress and then react with images, coping tips, or text notifications. The build itself uses Raspberry PI, a monitor, and two-way acrylic.

“I chose to be part of this project because it seemed like a great opportunity to work with a mentor from Microsoft and learn new skills that I might not have had the means to learn on my own,” says Paige, a member of the Riverside student team. “Stacey, our mentor, was a great resource to enable us to code our self-care mirror.”

Down the road, the group’s stretch goal is to integrate voice into the mirror, too, as well as some machine learning for prediction.

These talented students were one of four groups who worked with The Garage and went on to showcase their project at The Summit. We can’t wait to see what they think of next.

Visit Microsoft Vancouver to find out more about the latest in digital innovation happening at The Garage and how you can get involved.

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