What Is a Smart Mirror? Everything You Need To Know

You’ve probably seen those Sci-Fi movies where the main character tells their bathroom mirror to play the news and arrange their schedule while they brush their teeth and take a shower. And you’ve probably wondered how that would feel! You don’t have to wonder anymore, though, because smart mirrors already exist. 

A smart mirror consists of a monitor and a tiny computer behind a two-way mirror. It can show the time, weather, calendar events, and daily news. Basic smart mirrors only display information, but advanced options are touch-enabled and come with a camera, a microphone, speakers, and various sensors.

In this post, we’ll tell you how a smart mirror works, how you can have one in your living room or bathroom, and how much it’ll cost you. We’ll also give you an overview of how you can build a DIY smart mirror. 

How Does a Smart Mirror Work? 

Smart mirrors have three main components: a digital display, a small computer with WiFi connectivity, and a two-way mirror. But they may also have a fourth part: a frame for aesthetic purposes. 

The two-way mirror lets light through from behind but reflects light coming from the other side. These mirrors are available in different materials with different levels of transparency. Acrylic options are often more affordable, but glass mirrors are more durable and offer better overall image quality. 

The computer is usually a small device with limited processing power, and it can connect to your home WiFi and obtain real-time information. 

Depending on your usage, the computer may come with pre-installed software, support external storage and Bluetooth, and connect to various peripherals. 

What Can a Smart Mirror Do?

Smart mirrors are innovative devices with endless applications, from checking the weather and reading the latest news to showing stock prices and even helping you put on your makeup. 

Smart mirrors can connect to the internet and your smartphone via WiFi and Bluetooth. So, you can check your social media feeds, sync your calendar events, get reminders, and check prices. If your mirror is touch-enabled, you’ll get much more functionality. For example, you can search on Google, research recipes, shop, and check your email. 

Things get more exciting when your smart mirror comes equipped with a camera, a microphone, and speakers: 

Smart Mirror Entertainment 

You can take selfies on your smart mirror without holding a smartphone and publish them on your social media instantly. 

You can also attend Skype meetings on your mirror or turn it into your entertainment center. Some smart mirrors let you blast music for a party or stream videos from Netflix for a movie night with your loved ones. 

Connect Your Smart Home with you Smart Mirror

Your smart mirror may connect to your other smart home devices, including your locks, lights, and thermostat. So, you’ll have total control over every detail in your house right from your mirror. And you can get the whole futuristic experience if you have an Alexa or Google Nest. 

Smart Mirror Home Surveillance 

Interestingly, a smart mirror can also be your home surveillance system if it comes with a camera and speakers. This way, you can see what’s going on at home and stay in touch with your children or elderly parents when you’re away. 

Some mirrors also include a motion sensor that automatically detects, records, and transmits movements. So, you’ll be sure no one breaks into your house if you’re on a trip. 

Man-In-His-Bathroom-Selecting-A-Music-On-His-Smart-What-Is-A-Smart-Mirror

What Is a Smart Mirror TV?

A smart mirror TV is essentially a digital display with a decorative frame covered by a unique mirror. When the TV is switched on, the mirror lets the image through without any interference or distortion. However, when it’s switched off, the TV completely vanishes, and you only see the mirror left behind.

To accomplish this effect, you need a high-quality dielectric mirror, reflecting light from external sources but letting the light from a direct source pass through. Dielectric mirrors are more transparent (around 70 percent) than regular two-way mirrors. So, you can see all the colors and details.

Mirror TVs are excellent decorative options because you can match the frame to your interior design. You don’t have to have a big black TV on the wall anymore. 

What Is a Smart Bathroom Mirror? 

A smart bathroom mirror is like a typical smart mirror, but it’s usually smaller than a smart mirror TV, and the digital display doesn’t span the entire mirror.  

You shouldn’t use a dielectric mirror for your smart bathroom mirror. That’s because dielectric material is highly transparent, so you’ll probably have trouble using the device as an actual mirror. What’s more, you’ll see the small display behind the mirror, which isn’t exactly visually appealing. 

Wetness is also a concern with a smart bathroom mirror. Make sure the digital hardware is fully protected and never comes in contact with water. Never buy acrylic two-way mirrors because the material isn’t water-resistant and gets scratched easily. That’s why two-way glass mirrors are best for a bathroom setting. 

How Much Does a Smart Mirror Cost? 

Smart mirrors come in various sizes and shapes, each designed for a different purpose, which is why their prices vary greatly. 

HiMirror’s portable smart mirrors start at around $250. They’re great for putting on makeup and come with a skin analyzer app. Plus, they feature an 11-inch (27.94-cm) mirror with an 8-inch (20.32-cm) display and all the hardware of a regular tablet. 

If you’re looking for a smart mirror for your bathroom, you can spend around $270 on a Keonjinn 36-inch (91.4-cm) mirror, which comes with adjustable LEDs and lets you check the weather and time. It also has temperature and humidity sensors. 

Specialized mirrors are more expensive. For example, the fitness mirror from Mirror.co starts at around $1500. 

Finally, a custom mirror TV could put a dent in your pocket because you may have to spend a few thousand dollars to get the TV, mirror, and frame! Even if you already have the TV, the mirror and frame cost could still go into the thousands, depending on your screen size. 

Can You Build a Smart Mirror?

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a smart mirror or you like DIY projects, you can build one using a Raspberry Pi, an old computer monitor or TV, and a two-way mirror. You also need to make a frame out of wood or metal to match your display dimensions.  

It’s a good idea to include a Chromecast in the frame if you want to stream content from YouTube or Netflix. A Chromecast is a smart dongle that connects to an HDMI port and lets you control your TV using your smartphone. It’s part of the Google Home ecosystem. So, if you have a smart home network, you can get a more integrated experience. 

However, building a smart mirror is time-intensive and does require a bit of technical expertise. Plus, depending on what you’re planning to do, the project could cost you anywhere from $400 to $800 or more. 

Here’s an overview of what you need to do: 

  1. Build the frame. 
  2. Attach the mirror to the frame. 
  3. Secure the display on the frame. 
  4. Download and install the Raspberry Pi OS. 
  5. Install MagicMirror on the Raspberry Pi. 
  6. Install your preferred modules from the repository
  7. Apply your desired configuration. 

Watch this video for detailed instructions: 

Home Streamliner’s Take

  • A smart mirror is a futuristic yet simple technology composed of a two-way mirror, a digital display, and a small computer. It lets you retrieve real-time information from the web and see it directly in your mirror. 
  • A smart mirror TV has the same structure, but it uses a full-fledged TV and a dielectric mirror to hide the TV when it’s switched off. 
  • Smart mirror prices vary from around $250 to over $1500, depending on size and functionality. You can also make a DIY smart mirror, but you need technical expertise and some time to spare. 

Sources

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HomeStreamliner
HomeStreamliner

This blog aims to share my research and first-hand knowledge in a helpful way. My goal is for you to be able to save time and find happiness in a streamlined home.