When you’re an engineer at Google, you really don’t need to wait around for someone else to invent the products you want to use. Max Braun, for instance, went ahead and made a smart-mirror for his bathroom, using simple, easily available supplies. The otherwise rudimentary accessory has now become a notification center of sorts, displaying the time, date, weather forecast, and latest news headlines.
Remember the smart mirror that greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger and showed him his daily schedule in the 2000 sci-fi flick The 6th Day? Well, like other futuristic inventions showcased in movies, it has become a real thing. And it turns out that all there is to it is the smart use of a two-way mirror, a display panel and a controller board among a few other secondary components and arts & crafts supplies. Braun has provided links to all the supplies he used, and also a brief description of the build process, but in a nut shell the display behind the two-way mirror is connected to an Amazon Fire TV Stick, using a mini controller board. The Fire TV Stick runs the software, while the board is also connected to a power button and green LED.
Although it doesn’t have a touchscreen or voice command capabilities – it just updates itself regularly – the smart-mirror a thing of beauty that will definitely leave your guests in awe. Braun says that the added features don’t make the mirror less practical, and that the text won’t affect its most important function – to let you look at yourself. “Unless the weather is cloudy, there will be little color in the UI, but for the most part the text and icons are monochrome to prevent them from being too distracting,” he said.
Braun says he’s still trying to improve the layout and user interface, experimenting with widgets like traffic updates, daily reminders, and voice search. “This prototype is still a work in progress and I haven’t spent much time on the software yet,” he wrote on Medium, an online community where users share ideas. “The UI above is only a few hundred lines of code and I’m experimenting with different devices to run it – initially Chromecast, then Nexus Player, and most recently Fire TV Stick.”
“Maybe I’ll post a more detailed making-of with the pictures I took during the build,” he added. I’m sure a lot of techie DIY enthusiasts would love that. And who knows, maybe they’ll have some improvements to suggest.
Fingers crossed that the smart-mirror becomes an actual product soon, because I really want this for my bathroom.
Photos: Max Braun