Smarter Mirrors and How They’re Made
A while ago I made a smart mirror for my bathroom. Maybe you’ve seen it. It started with a particular image in my mind. I wanted to build a piece of technology for the home that feels new and futuristic, yet simple and clean. The mirror blends in seamlessly with its environment and doesn’t aggressively compete for my attention. I wrote about how it works and the parts I used, source code included.
It’s been two years, and I’ve been using this prototype every day. I’ve since added a couple of features to the software that the initial version didn’t have. For example, I connected it to my smart scale to show my weight trend, and it tells me the traffic to work each morning.
Over time I’ve been asking myself some questions about the hardware. What if it wasn’t so bulky? What if it fit into any room? What if it wasn’t square? What if it had a better display? What if it had a camera? Eventually, I put together a new prototype.
You’re looking at a small table mirror with a USB cable coming out the back and some familiar Roboto Thin on its surface. It can show me the weather, time, traffic, and more. I put the first one on my kitchen island.
The first prototype was still a little rough around the edges. I had cut the mirror to shape by hand and made a few mistakes along the way, which left me somewhat unsatisfied with the result. I used these lessons learned to build a second prototype. This time, I picked a different color and used a laser cutter for better precision, magnets for mounting, and a nicer cable. I also added an entirely new component: a light ring along the edge to illuminate what the camera sees.
These new prototypes have been a useful platform for all kinds of software experimentation. I’ve been able to build richer user experiences while keeping with the original theme of blending in and staying out of your way. For example, I…