Smart Mirrors – Gimmick or Way of the Future?

Smart Mirror Uses
Source: Mues-Tec

A lot of today’s tech looks impressive and what it offers is enough to intrigue and even excite one, but I think that what we’re getting is still nowhere near to what we want. Look at VR (Virtual reality) for instance. Even on its best day, VR still cannot give you an experience immersive enough to make you not know the difference. Smart glasses offer little more than a screen in the corner of your eye, and now we have smart mirrors. Like smart glasses and VR, smart mirrors are more gimmicky than anything else.

These devices offer little more than aesthetics while creating the impression that you’ve got this massive tablet in your bathroom or your bedroom. It’s a great look, but its functionality is limited, and I suspect that outside of being a conversation starter and something that tells you the time and the weather, its value won’t extend much further. The smart mirror also isn’t at that point of full commercialisation yet. It’s like those expensive Star Wars light sabres; you can purchase them here and there and pay a ridiculous fee, but they’re not readily available. That of course comes down to the price, which places it in an exclusive market. The smart mirror is somewhat the same. It’s still exclusive, but a quick search will reveal that you can make your own one, and because of this, there are a bunch of tech nerds out there making their own brands of smart mirrors. You can buy these mirrors or you can do a You Tube search, follow the instructions on a video, and make your own, although you’d have to have some competency with wood, tools and electronics if you’re going to venture down that route. I don’t have thousands lying around to buy a smart mirror, so I’ll do my best to tell you how you can make one.

How to Make a Smart Mirror

Now I’ll say this much, a smart mirror does look cool and futuristic, and odds are you will impress friends, family, lovers and strangers. So if you want to make an impression, then perhaps your home needs a smart mirror. Just imagine all the kudos you’ll get? All the pats on the back. All those envious looks. All those eyes rolling, oh the social envy! It will all be yours when you kit your joint out with a smart mirror. It might be for selfish reasons, narcissistic ones and one’s driven by none other than your id, but in the end, you’ll thank yourself. So let’s get down to what you’ll need:

  • A monitor with an HDMI-in
  • A Raspberry Pi 3 with a Wi-Fi adapter
  • A two-way glass mirror
  • A mouse and a keyboard
  • A mirror frame
  • Tools

I’m not embarrassed to admit that my tech knowledge is somewhat lay-man-like, and I have the internet to thank to for these next few lines. A Raspberry Pi is an affordable computer that’s the size of a credit card and that can be plugged into a monitor or a TV. Its versatility makes it quite a nifty item, enabling people of all ages to explore computing and even master programming languages.  A monitor with an HDMI-in port is your stock-standard flat PC screen. The only choice you would need to make is the size. This is going to be the smart mirror’s screen. The two-way mirror should be the same size as your monitor and acrylic too, as this will be more affordable. The mouse and keyboard will be required during the setup phase. The frame will have to be custom-made, and this is where the tools come in. If you’re in doubt about the construction of the frame, let me assure you, YouTube is your friend!

Smart Mirror Uses

I hope that rudimentary explanation didn’t underwhelm you too much. So let’s cut to the chase! You’ve managed to make an incredibly decent looking frame, you’ve uploaded the necessary software, thus no longer needing the mouse and keyboard, and you’ve mounted this baby in your bathroom or wherever you’d like. Your smart mirror, as it turns out, can do a reasonable amount of stuff.  While you’re flossing, shaving or applying your make-up, you can check out the weather, the time and even watch some YouTube vids. Imagine catching up on your favourite series while you’re getting ready for work? It’s kind of like having a light-weight version of your smartphone. Speaking of smartphones, and go with me on this, as it is a stretch, if you’re a novice online casino gambler and you’re looking to cut some corners, then the mirror can definitely help. I know, you’re thinking ‘Okay…how?’ Glad you asked. In most cases, a novice player would have to try a tutorial or play in what is known as practice play. This gives you the opportunity to train your brain. But let’s be honest, gambling isn’t exactly rocket science, so I suggest you bring up a tutorial on your smart mirror while simultaneously loading up an actual game of, let’s say blackjack, on your smartphone. The game is all algorithms and programs anyway, so you can literally set the pace at which you play. Now you’re getting ready for work and you’re learning and hopefully earning! It’s all in a day’s work.

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