For this project a traditional mirror is not enough, what we are
looking for is a two-way mirror: these are special panels which
allow the light to pass from the rear outwards, and also reflect the
light off the front, depending on the light condition on the other
side. If the other side is bright, we will see through, like a normal
glass. On the other hand, if the other side is dark, we will just see
our reflected image. An interesting aspect about this property is the
fact that it is very localised, so for example if we put a screen on
the other side of the two-way mirror, we will see our reflected
image in the dark parts of the screen, while the bright ones will
"pass through" and we will see them overlaid to our mirror. This is
the key idea behind a smart mirror.
It is possible to find two-way mirrors from different stores online,or some stores
like for example this or this.
The whole grammar typed above might seem confusing so I'll break it down in a layman's language. An example two way mirror are those mirrors commonly used in glasses. Someone can be viewing his reflection outside, while you can see the person from inside. Someone might be doing something outside but he/she doesn't know that there's someone inside because of the way the mirror is..
In order to show information on the mirror we need a display.
This will be placed behind the mirror and the bright areas of the
image will be visible from the viewer point of view, while the dark
ones will just reflect as a traditional mirror.
Ideally the display
should cover the whole area of the mirror, so that it will be possible
to cover it all with overlaid information. This can became clearly very expensive, so another solution is to limit the "smartness" of our mirror to one area only, using the smaller screen of a tablet or
a smartphone, for example.
Depending on the size of the mirror and the place where it will be
placed, we might want to add a frame around it, in order to cover
the screen on the back, but most importantly to shield the rear
As it's easy to imagine, once the device is installed it won't be
possible to interact with it using the touch screen. It will be good to
consider then an easy way to remove it from the mirror, in case we
will need to access some of the device settings later. In our
projects we attached the devices to a panel in the back of the
frame which could be easily removed.
Remember that the device will be always-on, so consider a hole in
order to allow a stable power connection.
COMPLETELY COVER THE BACK
As mentioned before, in order for the two-way mirror to reflect
properly, it is important for the rear side to be as dark as possible.
Shielding the rear section of the mirror from the light is especially
important in order to hide the device and all the cables, as well as
to guarantee the best reflection to the front.
CONTROLLING THE MIRROR
Now before installing the smartphone on the mirror, you'll need an app to remotely control the device. You'll need to install TeamViewer on the phone and also on another smartphone which will act as a remote. Basically, the user-interface of this
remotely control android application is cool and all you would need
is the password and user-id of the other Android device in order to
again complete access with this application..
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVING THE MIRROR
Since we're using a smart phone for this
1. Remove Lock Screen From The Device Totally
2. Increase the time your smartphone screen stays on..
3 increase brightness to maximum
4. Plug in Device Before Use
Here are some practical applications
Our friends from Novoda Did This
In Droidcon Berlin they presented a variation of their smart mirror
configured like in a typical domestic environment, displaying useful
information like the weather forecast or the agenda for the day. On
top of this they added a minimal Twitter client which displayed real
time tweets containing a given hashtag related to the conference.
The app they created was running on an Android tablet placed in the
the lower left corner, in order to not cover the reflected image with
the displayed information.
For Liverpool MakeFest they considered the expected audience,
mainly composed by families with young children. With that in
mind they created a more interactive configuration: They used face
recognition to detect when someone was looking at the mirror and
displayed different animations and smiling images depending on
the happiness of the person in front of it.
For this mirror they used a
different Android tablet placed at the center of the frame, in order
to display the looking eyes and the other animations in the middle
of the mirror.
I guess we're done here.. Have questions. Use the comment box.. Soon I'll Drop a video on this..
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