The future of tech can be seen in a smart mirror – brightly

One man's fun smart mirror project gives us a glimpse of the smart glass future ahead…

Max Braun thinks he has a better bathroom mirror than us – and it’s very hard to argue with him. Just take a look at this mirror:

A home-made smart mirror

Cool, isn’t it?

But how did it come to be?

Sometime late last year I realized that I wanted my ordinary bathroom mirror to be more like the future we were promised in the movies.
There doesn’t seem to be anyone selling the product I was looking for. The individual parts, however, were fairly easy to get. A number of people have done similar custom builds recently, but I had something different in mind.

And so, he built himself a smart mirror. It’s a great story of how easily some very futuristic-feeling tech can be assembled with off-the-shelf components, and a little know how. The software running the mirror is only a few hundred lines of code.

Smart glass – the “PC” of the future.

But what’s more deeply interesting is this is another example of our devices become just – pretty literally in this case – glass. Our tablets and phones are just sheets of glass we carry around with us. A smart watch is glass on our wrists. Any surface has the potential to be an intelligent display, where information can come to us.

The challenge with a smart mirror – which I’d love, by the way. Could you get on that ASAP, manufacturers? – is that for any family home, you’ll have multiple people using it. Which means it makes sense for most of the smarts to reside with the phone rather than the mirror. I head into the bathroom, and the mirror detects the proximity of my phone using NFC, Bluetooth or their ilk. The two of them start talking, my phone goes into “mirror mode” and pushes the information I want while shaving onto the mirror’s screen. All without any input from me.

Hey, build a microphone into the mirror, and I can answer texts or e-mails while shaving. That’s efficient.

My wife comes in next, and it switches seamlessly to showing information for her.

Nearly nine months into wearing my Apple Watch I’m coming to appreciate having another screen my phone pushes information to, without it ever leaving my pocket. And I’m hungry for more. Give us more smart screens in the house – and let the phone be the mobile intelligence we use to make it all work.