If you notice, almost all the devices and gadgets these days have got a “smart” version. Shocking isn’t it? To name a few, smart TV’s, smart toasters, smart dustbins and smart what not! In this article I would be covering what in essence can a smart mirror bring to the table and what are the benefits of having it in your own space.
A smart-mirror comprises of a two-way mirror setting. It has an inbuilt display that is securely embedded behind the glass frame. This allows the owner of the product to display whatever they deem fit onto the smart mirror. Most common uses of the smart mirror are, having your weather, calendar meetings, stopwatch and news feed to display onto the mirror itself. Quite a fascinating invention don’t you think?
No! This is not a mirror that you would tell you how beautiful you look? Well, who knows if you can embed google voice and Apple Siri into the picture? But then again, I still think that no voice assistant should ever be able to answer this particular question of how beautiful you are. You would have to resort to the Snow White’s version of a magic mirror if you ought to get the results you want. Anyhow, smart mirrors come in a variety of sizes. Ranging from table mirrors and they go all the way up to a full-sized bathroom mirror.
Below is a detailed answer to your question “What can a smart mirror do” and its other features.
WHAT CAN A SMART MIRROR DO?
In essence, the name “smart” is given to anything capable to handle stuff in an automated way and fashion. Similar is the case with a smart mirror. It is a device gets embedded into your mirror and allows you to have a display of whatever you want it to. You can even go as extensive as adding Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home voice assistant to it allowing you to control it with your own voice. Obviously there is a steep learning curve if you have a harsh accent, but most of the artificial intelligence and voice transcripts and encoders that are not being utilised by both Google and Amazon are top-notch and should be able to understand reasonably any accent with minimum trouble.
An extended example of what a smart mirror can do, I have listed the possibilities down in the table below for your easy read and references
|Current Day||Wi-Fi Connection|
|Current Time||Temperature Unit|
|Current Date||Alarm Settings|
|Current Weather and Forecasts||Multi-Lights to illuminate your space|
|Satire News Feed Headlines||My Google Calendar|
|Social Media Updates||Traffic Reports|
The above list is just a standard set of tools a regular smart mirror comes with from the factory. Since we live in a world where tweaks, mods, and custom applications are built to modify a gadget to better suit your needs, there are a variety of different mods and scripts that are available out in the open market that would allow you to customize your smart mirror to display stuff that otherwise will not be possible out of box.
Word of warning though, installing custom scripts onto the smart mirror or in fact, any gadget you own can void the warranty. So weigh out the pros and cons before you proceed and tread with caution as not all scripts are privacy protected. You never know what malicious code is embedded into the script.
HOW DOES A SMART MIRROR WORK?
There are mostly three parts to a smart mirror. Namely
- A two-way mirror set
- A display unit
- A computer device (I would like to keep it layman term for better readability for my followers)
A Two-Way Mirror Set
Unlike a regular mirror which has a film that reflects the incoming light by 100%, smart mirror glass is equipped with a two-way mirror concept that reflects the incoming light from one-direction and allows the light to pass through from the other direction. Quite a bit of physics lesson here isn’t it?
A prime example to have you understand what I am ranting about is that two-way mirror glasses are commonly used in interrogation rooms and in the movie theatres. A two-way mirror concept used in a smart mirror is so that the light from the display can pass through the mirror itself and you can then easily see what the computer device that is connected to it is displaying.
A Display Unit
Right behind the mirror itself, there is a display unit that is installed and held on firmly, so it doesn’t break loose during manoeuvring and installation of the mirror itself. This display unit could either be the size of a mirror or just affixed in a tiny frame invisible to the naked eye. This piece displays all the relevant information that you encode into the computer device that is connected to the mirror itself.
A Computer Device
Since now we are done with the part where we have gone through the nitty-gritty of a smart mirror, let us now know what that computer device is doing right in between there. This device is the main backbone of this whole concept and is responsible for processing all the computational algorithms to generate the output that you require finally. In simpler words, this device enables the mirror to be converted into a smart mirror and displays all the weather, forecasting’s, alarm settings and whatnot.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF A SMART MIRROR?
Until and unless you have taken that leap of faith to revolutionise your life by stepping to the smart-home concept, you wouldn’t be able to experience the advantages of what a smart mirror has to offer and how it streamlines and provides information that would otherwise be scattered all over the place. The biggest and the most beneficial thing that a smart mirror offers to its users is that it displays all the information that would otherwise not be possible unless you go through opening magnitude of different applications on your smartphone. Talk about universality!
All you need to do is, just look up at the mirror, and the information you want is right in front of you.
I will give you a live running example, to understand better how it is advantageous to have a mirror in your own bathroom.
You wake up in the morning and head straight to the washroom. You start brushing and immediately thought of how the weather is going to be for the rest of the day today strikes your mind. Well, with a smart mirror; that information is right in front of you. MAGIC isn’t it!
Imagine having a magic mirror in your lounge or in your patio. You are sitting there having your morning coffee and want to know how the traffic on a particular route looks like. Fret not, you can configure your smart mirror to display just that!
The whole concept of introducing artificial intelligence into our daily routines is to have the liberty and time to do whatever we want. You have the freedom to do any kind of customisation you want with your smart mirror, as long as it is factory approved. If you are going out of the way to customise your mirror in a way that is not initially designed for; then kiss your warranty goodbye!
There are all-in-one modules and applications explicitly made for smart-mirrors. You too can get hold of them and customise your smart mirror the way you want it to function. You can change the colour of the fonts, add new applications, heck even run YouTube on it. But I wouldn’t be very much intrigued running a YouTube video on a smart mirror. Well, that is just a personal opinion!
Similarly, I have written a detailed article on whether you should be out and about buying a smartwatch for yourself and if it has any benefits. The link to the article is here. Let me know your thoughts on it!
A GREAT ADDITION TO YOUR HOME
You can easily add this into your own home as it is a great transition into the smart-home concept. It certainly is an eye candy and a trend-setter. Someone who walks into your washroom, when they look at it would definitely come out with a grin on their face. If not they are ought to ask you what made you invest in a smart mirror. Then this article and its findings could be a conversation starter!
A smart mirror ought to give your home a futuristic feel. A
smart mirror is designed in such a way that it lights up at its corners as soon
as it detects someone is right in front of it. These lights are in actual LED”s
that consume zero to no power.
The whole point here is that if you do the installation of a smart mirror at your home and do it right, it is definitely going to bring in a massive aesthetic change and enhance the surroundings.
WHAT ARE THE FEATURES OF A SMART-MIRROR?
A typical standard smart mirror comes with a variety of features. These include but are not limited to
This allows you to have that Tony Stark feel. You can interact with your smart mirror by using your very own fingers
- Led Lighting
this dramatically enhances the ambience of your surroundings where the mirror is installed.
- Motion sensor control
your smart mirror turns on and off automatically as you walk in and out of its surroundings.
- Voice control feature
You can easily ask your mirror questions given it is connected to the Wi-Fi or to an internet connection
- Facial Recognition
Latest and high-end smart mirrors are equipped with facial recognition technology. Each household member has a unique facial profile which they can customise. This allows each user to tailor and display the content they want to see when they come in front of the mirror.
CAN YOU DIY A SMART MIRROR?
It surely is possible to build a smart mirror at home at a fraction of the cost. It is surprisingly easy and won’t be a massive burden on your pocket. This piece of technology had taken the world by storm and is definitely something that everyone who is thinking about transitioning from a conventional home to a smart-home, must have! But turns out it is not at all difficult to create this futuristic device at your own home. All you need are a few pieces of equipment, and you are good to go. Let me know if you are interested in to find out how to build a smart mirror at home, I would be more than glad to compose an article together where I would explain each step and guide you to make your own smart mirror most inexpensively.