Inventing often combines more than one old ideas into a new one. Even when the fused things are similar, the result can be more valuable than the sum of its parts. Unlike those analog watches with a digital clock below the face, when [Mojoptix] combined the re-reflecting properties of an infinity mirror with the image twisting qualities of a funhouse mirror, we get more than just a pair of mirrors. The resulting images look like a lot of fun. Warping one surface of two parallel mirrors doesn’t just alter the result a bit, because the planes feed off each other’s view, the final product is an exponentially skewed show.
Our host mounts a 3D printed ring with an hubward-facing strip of LEDs to an ordinary glass mirror. Over that, he designs four mated plates that hold semi-reflective film sheets in different shapes. The first is a hyperbolic paraboloid, but it’s probably easier to think of it as shaped like a Pringles chip (crisp). Once the light is applied, it looks like a bowtie made by a deranged god or the start of an infinite rabbit hole of light and reflection. To further the madness, he hits us with four shapes at once, so we hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy the video below.
This guy is no stranger to optics, and we’ve reported on a couple of other cool inventions that teach a concept through demonstration. His precision calipers demonstrate the Moiré effect, and his digital sundial capitalizes on parallel light beams.
[pepelepoisson]’s Miroir Magique (“Magic Mirror”) is an interesting take on the smart mirror concept; it’s intended to be a playful, interactive learning tool for kids who are at an age where language and interactivity are deeply interesting to them, but whose ceaseless demands for examples of spelling and writing can be equally exhausting. Inspiration came from his own five-year-old, who can neither read nor write but nevertheless has a bottomless fascination with the writing and spelling of words, phrases, and numbers.
The magic is all in the simple interface. Magic Mirror waits for activation (a simple pass of the hand over a sensor) then shows that it is listening. Anything it hears, it then displays on the screen and reads back to the user. From an application perspective it’s fairly simple, but what’s interesting is the use of speech-to-text and text-to-speech functions not as a means to an end, but as an end in themselves. A mirror in more ways than one, it listens and repeats back, while writing out what it hears at the same time. For its intended audience of curious children fascinated by the written and spoken aspects of language, it’s part interactive toy and part learning tool.
Like most smart mirror projects the technological elements are all hidden; the screen is behind a one-way mirror, speakers are out of sight, and the only inputs are a gesture sensor and a microphone embedded into the frame. Thus equipped, the mirror can tirelessly humor even the most demanding of curious children.
[pepelepoisson] explains some of the technical aspects on the project page (English translation link here) and all the code and build details are available (in French) on the project’s GitHub repository. Embedded below is a demonstration of the Magic Mirror, first in French then switching to English.