[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.
Did [TobiasWeis] build a mirror that’s better at reflecting his image? No, he did not. Did he build a mirror that’s better at reflecting himself? We think so. In addition to these philosophical enhancements, the build itself is really nice.
The display is a Samsung LCD panel with its inconvenient plastic husk torn away and replaced with a new frame made of wood. We like the use of quickly made 3D printed brackets to hold the wood at a perfect 90 degrees while drilling the holes for the butt joints. Some time with glue, band clamps, and a few layers of paint and the frame was ready. He tried the DIY route for the two-way mirror, but decided to just order a glass one after some difficulty with bubbles and scratches.
A smart mirror needs an interface, but unless you own stock in Windex (glass cleaner), it is nice to have a way to keep it from turning into an OCD sufferer’s worst nightmare. This is, oddly, the first justification for the Leap Motion controller we can really buy into. Now, using the mirror does not involve touching the screen. [Tobias] initially thought to use a Raspberry Pi, but instead opted for a mini-computer that had been banging around a closet for a year or two. It had way more go power, and wouldn’t require him to hack drivers for the Leap Motion on the ARM version of Linux.
After that is was coding and installing modules. He goes into a bit of detail about it as well as his future plans. Our favorite is programming the mirror to show a scary face if you say “bloody mary” three times in a row.
[Nathan] wanted a smart mirror that cost less than the last one he built, which was about $500. He decided that you don’t see more smart mirrors because of the high cost. His latest build came in at only $79 (you’ll have to visit the blog’s home page to find the entire series).
The most expensive piece of the build is a 7-inch monitor ($45). Any Raspberry Pi will work, although [Nathan] uses a Pi B+. Although he managed to score a free one-way mirror from a local glass shop, you can buy one for about $13.
This is the kind of project that isn’t a big technical challenge. After all, it is a one-way mirror with an LCD screen behind it. However, getting the screen blacked out and set to provide the best possible effect is the trick and [Nathan’s] techniques will give you a head start.
Gaining popularity in recent months, it’s not that difficult to make a smart mirror. In fact, it’s really just an LCD monitor with a one-way mirror slapped on top. Similar to how Infinity Mirrors work.
The build makes use of an older LCD monitor [Tmonaco189] had laying about. He went to the hardware store and picked up some wood to build a frame that would fit the aspect ratio of the monitor perfectly — and of course to be large enough to cover up the rear casing of the monitor. Once built, it was time to make it smart! Continue reading “Smart Mirror Notices You and Turns On”→
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