Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

posted in: Miscellaneous | 0

tumblr_n4oop9y0981sha68ro6_1280I’m sure you’re all very familiar with a whole host of interesting and innovative Raspberry Pi projects by now, Pi powered light-switches, tablets etc. have been around for a while – and although they are pretty cool, they’re not quite as cool as this… The Raspberry Pi Mirror.

It started off with Dutch tech geek Michael Teeuw being dragged round a shopping center by his girlfriend in the usual ‘I’ve only come along so as to have a quiet life’ fashion, when he noticed a mirror with an illuminated sign on it, attracting shoppers into a store.

This sparked an idea in Michael’s brain, what if he could create a smart-Mirror of some kind? A mirror that can display the time, the weather and even display messages. This led to him obtaining a mirror, a thin monitor, a spare Raspberry Pi, wood and some paint.

Obviously a regular mirror wouldn’t work, as essentially you will need the mirror to be semi-transparetnt in order to see the information displayed on the monitor.

So he sourced an observation mirror, exactly the same as the ones used in police interrogation rooms and psychology practices – where a person can see through the mirror from one side, but a person on the other end would not be able to see through at all.

Now with the mirror obtained, a screen that would allow inputs from the side only (no ports on the back) was required so that power and input/output cables could be plugged into the side of the mirror. He obtained a 24″ thin monitor – which was the optimum size for displaying a native 1080p resolution in portrait mode.

He then removed the casing of the monitor, so he was only left with the bare screen and the display controls panel at the back of the screen. He then built a wooden case around the screen, while keeping in mind that slots needed to be built in order for input/output cables to be plugged into it.

tumblr_inline_n2zq94yeyv1s95p1zBuilding the case wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be, Michael had to make it in four layers and add ventilation holes in order to prevent over-heating.

After installing the Raspberry Pi into the case and connecting it up to the monitor, he then had to program an interface for the mirror – using Jquery in order to ease the DOM manipulation, Moment.js to perform some timestamp manipulation, FeedToJson to convert RSS feeds into Javascript useable JSON data as well as iCal Parser to do some conversion of iCal data to JSON.

The results is a Raspberry Pi smart-mirror, which can display the date and time, auto refreshes with weather information as well as give you compliments such as ‘Hey, handsome’!

You can check out a full step-by-step write-up on the project on Michael’s blog!

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