Turkish student gives cancer patients new reason to smile with mirror only reflecting smiling faces

Turkish student gives cancer patients new reason to smile with mirror only reflecting smiling faces

Salih Berk İlhan, a Middle East Technical University graduate, designed a mirror that reflects people's images only when they smile. İlhan, who completed his master's degree at the School of Visual Arts in New York, said that he aims to improve the morale of cancer patients, lifting their spirits and making them smile during the difficult recovery process with his project titled, "Uplift." As a part of his project, İlhan conducted research with over 200 cancer patients in the United States and Turkey and designed 15 different products. İlhan said that he was deeply affected when a recovered cancer patient told him, "It was hard to look in the mirror and accept that I had cancer in my body."

The young designer said that the frequent hospital visits he had to make as a child after being diagnosed with asthma at a very early age are what inspired him. American physician Hunter Doherty, known by the household name "Patch" Adams, also inspired İlhan with the contributions he made, through comedy, to the recovery experience of cancer patients. "I designed an entertaining mirror with special materials which allows patients to see their reflections only when they smile. I observed the reactions of the users when they encountered the prototype of the mirror. My aim is to boost overall morale, especially of cancer patients, and help them to be stronger by making them smile during the crucial recovery process," said İlhan, who offers design classes at Thomas Jefferson University Medical School in the U.S. He further noted that "The dean of the faculty attended my first workshop at the university. When he saw the mirror, among my other designs, he told me that the oncology department wants the smiling mirror for their medical services. I have received orders for the mirror and we will be marketing the smiling mirror in 2016."

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