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POP CULTURE: Magic Mirror

Mar. 12 2009, Published 11:54 a.m. ET

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This isn’t your haunted house type of mirror, though it can be pretty scary to see yourself in it.

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a computerized, sensor-based “magic mirror” that analyzes muscular activity and shows real-time computer-generated images.

So for instance, if you’re a tad lazy on that elliptical machine it will show (you) up.

The magic mirror, developed by the Information and Robot Technology Research Initiative, was unveiled recently at the University of Tokyo.

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In a demonstration for the media, the system’s display monitor showed a real-time computer-generated image of a male model’s musculo-skeletal system while he performed a series of physical exercises.

The system, which is currently capable of monitoring the activity of 30% of the body’s roughly 300 skeletal muscles, consists of 16 electromyographs (instruments that record the electrical waves associated with muscle activity) attached to the user’s body, 10 motion-capture cameras, and a pair of floor sensors to measure the force exerted on the legs.

On Our Radar

Why? The researchers envision the system being used in homes, gyms and hospitals.

We don’t expect to see it at the gym or on Wii any time soon and for one, we’re glad.



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