Brian Singh

@briansingh

I Made Myself a Smart Mirror

Credit: Max Braun for UI

I’ve heard about people making these mirrors for a while now, but never thought to make one for myself. It was only recently that I realized I could actually benefit from having one. I often find myself running late in the mornings and this mirror has proven to be very valuable to me. It quickly provides me with the information I need before heading out of the house.

The left side of the mirror displays the weather as well as a brief description of the forecast for the day. Below that is the wind speed. The right side has the time and date, followed by the current time it took to commute to my University. The commute is calculated while keeping in mind the real-time traffic that’s on the route.

The Parts

2 Way Mirror

Since I was on a college budget, I chose to go with the cheapest mirror I could find: a 2-way acrylic mirror. I wanted a frameless look so I had a hole drilled in each corner of the mirror and used aluminum standoffs to mount it on my wall.

The cheapest price I found for these was listed on Amazon.

The Monitor

I salvaged the monitor from a broken laptop I had sitting around. A quick eBay search found the proper controller board to use with it.

Amazon Fire TV Stick

This part will vary depending on personal preference. The easiest way to display the information for me was by using an Amazon Fire TV Stick. Another popular way to do this is with a Raspberry Pi.

If you’re interested in this route, there are so many great youtube tutorials going over how to do a similar version of this with a Raspberry Pi and an application called Magic Mirror.

I wanted to be able to customize my mirror layout and widgets, so I used React Native to develop my own android app for it.

I used Google’s Distance Matrix API for getting the commute travel time.

For retrieving the weather updates, I used the Dark Sky API.

Useful/Optional Supplies

I cut a piece of black foam poster board to the shape of my mirror with a space cut out for the monitor to fit. This allowed the 2-way mirror to have a blacked out side and function as a normal mirror. The mirror and board are sandwiched together by the standoffs.

I secured the monitor to the board with some strong tape.

I found it helpful to have electric tape to black out the front edges and back of the monitor to reduce the amount of light that escapes.

Marking the wall correctly is important, especially if using standoffs. Having a level to help me was incredibly useful. Take your time and make sure to measure twice.

What's Next

In the near future, I plan to integrate a motion sensor to turn on the monitor only when it detects someone walk by. I also plan to add Alexa integration.

Material wise, I would use glass instead of acrylic next time. I noticed that going the cheaper route and using acrylic led to it having a funhouse mirror type of effect at certain angles. I believe this was due to the mirror being slightly bent.

Overall this was a fun project and turned out to be useful, while only costing me around $200 to build.

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