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The Mirrors of the Future Will Point Out All Your Flaws to Sell You Products

Mirror, mirror on the wall, how much money do I need to spend before I’ll be pretty?
​These are some of the things wrong with the author's face. Photo: Kaleigh Rogers/Motherboard

​Tucked between their 4K televisio​ns and their induction cooktop stove, Panasonic's booth at the Consumer Electronic Show is also home to a futuristic magic mirror way more terrifying than that disembodied mask f​rom Snow White.

The Japanese heavy-hitter's smart mirror has digital displays, including a secondary projection of your own reflection. The projection can be virtually altered to display different makeup looks, hairdos, and even facial hair styles.


But here's where it gets really fun: it can also pinpoint all your flaws, from tiny wrinkles to barely-perceptible pores, and then "recommend" a series of beauty products and treatments in order to improve your look. Because apparently we weren't picking apart our reflections enough as it is.

It also keeps track of your horrible, hideous flaws, so you can see if all the money you spent is working, or if you ought to spend more money.

"Once you start using products, you can track whether or not they've been working," sales rep Joey Liao explained cheerfully, gesturing to another volunteer who sat pouting at a vanity. "So if she buys a very expensive new night cream and a month later has made no progress, goodbye night cream! You don't need to invest in that anymore. You can use a different product."

Liao also suggested some less soul-crushing uses for the mirror, such as trying on new hairstyles at the salon before plunging into a dramatic change or seeing which eyebrow shape might suit your face before pulling out the tweezers.

The author going full Riker. Photo: Kaleigh Rogers/Motherboard

"This is not a gimmick, it's a serious technology solution," said Julie Bauer, president of Panasonic's consumer electronics for North America, as she described the device during Panasonic's opening presentation on Monday. Bauer specifically touted the mirror as being placed in department stores to sell products to consumers.

The mirror is just a prototype for now, still years away from actually staring back at you from the makeup aisles at Bloomingdale's, but as I gazed at the highlighted "blemish" spots and squiggles on my face it seemed all too real.

And it's not just geared to women. A gentleman who sat down at the mirror ahead of me was subjected to the same virtual dissection before trying on some long lashes and a thick mustache.

Gauging by the reaction of the crowd around me, most people weren't as disturbed by the mirror's critical nature. With its sleek look and multiple functionality, it's easy to imagine the magic mirror becoming a familiar sight in daily life of the future, something I'm not particularly looking forward to.

But at least I now know I can pull off a goatee.