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Get an Eyeful of This Googler’s Custom Smart Mirror

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Now that’s a novel way to look smart. Google engineer Max Braun has developed his own “smart mirror,” an internet-connected bathroom fixture that displays time, gives weather forecasts, and delivers news updates, all while you wash your face and brush your teeth.

But why did he build his own instead of buying one? One reason is that as an engineer, he could.

And Braun isn’t the only one hacking his way to a more connected bathroom experience. Developers around the world are collaborating online to troubleshoot the problem of smart mirror prototyping, finding the best ways to connect wires, cables, and microcomputers to build magic mirrors for their own homes.

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At the beginning, homemade smart mirrors were mostly just old tablets that people had taped inside two-way glass. But recently, DIY mirror makers have begun embedding larger displays beneath the surface, so they can utilize more of the mirror’s area to display information.

But Braun seems to have mastered the technique—and that makes sense considering he managed the team that ran the Google Glass software platform.

Here’s a photo of Braun’s mirrored masterpiece:

Behind the looking glass, Braun’s mirror display hardware is only a few millimeters thick. An Amazon Fire TV stick, lodged inside the medicine cabinet, runs the display, while Android code coordinates the information on screen.

If you don’t have enough computer chops to build your own, companies like Samsung and Panasonic already revealed smart mirror displays at the Retail Asia Expo in Hong Kong last summer and the CES in Las Vegas in January. But these beauty-focused mirrors were designed for the fashion world, aimed at dressing rooms and jewelry stores, not home bathrooms.

Samsung's Mirror OLED display.
Samsung’s Mirror OLED display Business Wire
Business Wire

Meanwhile, here’s hoping there’s a household version in the works, somewhere. Braun says he’s still experimenting with adding in new features like traffic updates and personal assistant reminders from Google Now.

And in the future, he says his mirror could also be programmed to take voice input. But it wouldn’t be the first—Microsoft developer Evan Cohen already built a mirror with voice commands back in October.

So that morning chat you have with yourself in the mirror? Soon, it may be more than just a pep talk.