Smartwatches. Smart clothing. Smart bikes. Everything is getting smarter and more connected. Sometimes it makes sense. A bike that can detect dangers in your blind spot, give you directions, and communicate with other bikes? Pretty cool. But Android-powered fridges, kettles, ovens? Not so much. Companies seem to be throwing Android at everyday objects and hoping that something sticks. One potentially cool household object has been mostly overlooked: the bathroom mirror. Max Braun, a software engineer for Google, wanted to get his hands on an Android-powered mirror. There are few projects already out there but they weren’t exactly what he wanted. So he built his own and it’s beautiful.
What I love about this project is that it’s clean, elegant, and only presents information that’s useful at a glance and doesn’t require interaction. I’m sick of TV ads imagining a future where we swish floating icons around like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. A mirror makes sense to me for notifications and updates because you stare at it anyway while brushing your teeth. The mirror shows the data and time; current weather and 24-hour forecasts; and recent news headlines. The project isn’t finished and Max wants to add traffic alerts, reminders, and compatibility with Google Now cards.
Max used a 2-way mirror so that you could still see yourself and also the UI, which is running on a display panel behind the mirror. The whole thing is mounted to the door of a medicine cabinet, so there’s even storage behind it. As you can see from his behind-the-scenes picture, it’s not as tidy at the back. A controller board connects the display to the Amazon Fire TV stick that runs Android. The mirror has already seen several changes and improvements to get it where it is today and Max doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, as long as the UI doesn’t become cluttered or become too interactive. He’s added voice search so there is some interaction and that’s ok. I just like the idea that it’s a mirror that happens to show you relevant info rather than yet another computer in front of your face.
If you need me I’m sourcing a 2-way mirror.
Main image © Max Braun