Over the last five years give or take, there has been a movement on the rise. It has been called many things, but by far the most common term has been Internet of Things. This concept covers all things, devices and even clothing connected to the internet, sending or receiving data.
Many interesting projects have been developed by professionals and amateurs alike, inspiring many crowdfunded projects and many commercial products along the way. On do it yourself forums and websites across the internet we see new projects every week promising to change the way you interact with your dishwasher, or how you control your central heating.
This article will explore an intelligent mirror, that looks like something from out of the future.
The smart mirror has been labelled “Smart Reflection” and is currently in the development stages. So far the images we have received show a bunch of Raspberry Pi 3’s, Samsung Monitors and IKEA mirrors.
Together they will enable the users easy access to the latest news while standing in front of the mirror and putting on the sunday clothes. Functioning just like a regular mirror, but with a screen behind it, it will display data similar to a regular computer monitor at the same time as reflecting the image of whomever stands in front of it.
The developers behind this new project are a Danish and UK based app agency called Nodes, who first got the idea for their own personal use, but saw the potential for a commercial product in the early stages of researching.
Currently Nodes are gathering input from users on the internet submitting their ideas for functionality for the mirror, so if you have a great idea, you can visit the site and add your own idea here.
Some of the intended features includes voice recognition, fingerprint scanning and possibly even some low level machine learning which would know what apps any given user opens most frequently, and act accordingly.
It is even possible to develop an application that will know which user is entering the bathroom, and turn on the personalized welcome screen as the user enters. If that user normally shaves in the morning, the mirror can then show that users favorite news, or play the favorite music of whomever is currently taking a shower.
The software part is what makes this mirror interesting, and being developed by serious app developers makes us believe Smart Reflection could go on to become a huge success, since the people at Nodes know how to make awesome applications.
How is it built?
Built around an IKEA mirror available in most countries, everyone can compete with the low cost on this part. And with Nodes hinting at the idea of making their research and software publicly available, it might also be possible to build your own at some point in time.
Behind the two-way mirror will sit a 32 inch monitor, projecting all the relevant data through the mirror so users can see both their own reflection, as well as the data sent by the computer.
The computer will be a Raspberry Pi 3B, currently the latest model of the popular minicomputer, with the option of either connecting to the network via cable, or Wi-Fi.
This combination will be quite powerful due to the Raspberry Pi 3B, since it offers 1.2ghz of processing power, and 1 gigabyte of ram for memory. Users can buy additional SD-Cards for improved storage capabilities, or just connect to the internet for streaming movies or accessing shared content.
Both the mirror and the computer is quite low on cost compared to typical IoT projects, and by using any old flat screen monitor, most enthusiasts can gain easy entry to the development of their own smart mirror.
The mirror will run on a specialized version of Linux, customized by the in-house developers at Nodes for performance and user experience being the primary factors.
Running on Linux will mean that all current mobile applications for sale or download on Google Play will become available to Smart Reflection users, allowing for more than 2 million apps in theory.
However, since this project is still being developed at the software-level, we are not able to promise exact custom apps designed for the mirror in question, and we will have to wait to know specific details of extended functionality outside of traditional apps.
Some of the ideas currently floating revolves around user recognition, either by facial or voice or gesture recognition, to allow the mirror to boot up automatically once a user it knows enters the bathroom. It will then also be able to open that users preferred apps, and play the favorite radio station or music tracks according to the previous listens.
This can be expanded upon to include functionality that will allow the built-in camera to measure heart rates and compare to previous days, thus possibly alerting the user early on that a problem might be arising, or that the user has simply had one cup of coffees too many.
It will also be interesting to find out how exactly the device will be controlled, whether only by voice, or by having a smartphone control inputs – or maybe something else entirely?