OLED “Neural Mirror” Reveals How Biometric Machines See Us


Rome-based design and technology studio Ultravioletto, known for producing installations with robot dancers in “5 Sonic Arms” and code art in “Tribute to Creators,” recently unveiled their “Neural Mirror,” which takes all of the digital signage and communications industry’s concerns about privacy and biometrics and transforms them into an installation with a provocative artistic statement.

The Neural Mirror is actually an OLED panel with a reflective coating that acts as both a mirror and a display in conjunction with a depth-sensing camera. To the viewer/participant, the installation initially seems like an ordinary mirror. Then, it scans and classifies you based on age, sex, facial structure, ethnicity and emotional state before generating your computerized double and printing out your ‘stats’ from a nearby machine that interprets your data into lines of JSON JavaScript-type code.

The Neural Mirror installation, like any art piece, is up for some interpretation, but there is also definitely some intention to make viewers contemplate the process of surrendering personal details to a society increasingly comprised of cold, unfeeling computers programmed to maximize impressions and profit. It essentially makes the participant see through the eye of the machine, and all that thoughtful reflection is probably punctuated by the fact that the installation is housed in the former Church of Santa Maria della Manna d’Oro as part of the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds that took place in the Umbrian town in July.

“Artificial intelligence extracts all of our behaviors in a shady way then transforms them into a form of wealth for corporations,” Ultravioletto’s Bruno Capezzuoli told Dezeen. “Here, this process is well declared and explained to the user. They can see in real time what kind of data we are capturing.”

Check out the video here to learn more.

About Author

Jason Kushner is a videographer, editor, writer and filmmaker living in the Greater Atlanta Area. With an educational background combining film and journalism, Kushner has shot video and written for a myriad of publications and multimedia projects including Creative Loafing Tampa, TBO.com, Starline Films and Digital Signage Connection. His 2009 documentary American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee became an Official Selection at 12 international film festivals, won Best Documentary at the 2009 Central Florida Film Festival and a John Muir Gold Award at the 2009 Yosemite Film Festival.  In 2015, he became Digital Media Editor for Digital Signage Expo, LightShow West and LED Specifier Summit and has since become Digital Content Manager for those shows’ parent company, Exponation.

1 Comment

  1. Great article and thought provoking, thank you for bringing this story forward. Really interesting look at presenting experience technologies in a more transparent way (no pun intended).

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