Connecting Dark Assets: An ongoing series on how the Internet of Everything is transforming the ways in which we live, work, play, and learn.

For months now, I’ve been talking about how the Internet of Everything (IoE) “lights up” dark assets—but I never thought I’d be talking about makeup in that context. Of course, my wife would be quick to point out that many people consider makeup a critical asset, so it’s really not that different from other things whose value increases through the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. Here are three examples:

First, the Sephora store in Milan, Italy, has introduced an augmented reality mirror that allows customers to “try on” any shade of eye shadow the company offers, simply by touching the sample shade on the screen. The system uses real-time facial tracking and 3D imagery to produce a live video feed of the customer wearing that shade in the mirror.

Taking this concept a huge step further is producer and technical director Nobumichi Asai, who goes beyond makeup. He uses face tracking and projection mapping technology to essentially turn a model’s face into a computer-generated imagery (CGI) green screen for live performance art—varying from sophisticated fashion makeup to a liquid metallic look, to a fast progression of reflective angles.

On a more practical level, a young woman out of Harvard Business School named Grace Choi has developed Mink, a 3D printer for makeup. Targeted at teens and young women who can’t afford the niche colors at places like Sephora, Mink allows you to take any color you capture on your computer, camera, or smartphone, and turn it into a custom color for eye shadow or lipstick.

Mink is still in the concept stage, but it has the potential to be very disruptive to the high-end beauty market, where customers are often attracted to a brand because of the unique colors it offers. If customers can produce their own custom makeup on a desktop printer, where is the incentive to go to a high-end brand for a unique color?

So how does all of this relate to IoE? It puts people first, and radically changes the process of trying on, purchasing, and even making your own makeup. And it uses data about facial structure and movement, as well as colors, to connect the individual to their desired look. The networked connections among all of these elements “light up” ordinary things like mirrors and desktop printers—and add a little glamour to the Internet of Everything.




Joseph M. Bradley

Global Vice President

Digital & IoT Advanced Services