HomeLab - Philips' Home Electronics R & D Incubator where home technology prototypes are tested under the most realistic conditions possible - has generated its first commercialised product: Mirror TV. Designed for non-traditional viewing spaces where it can be installed flush to a wall, the Mirror TV is a 17, 23 or 30-inch LCD display integrated into a unique polarised mirror that transfers almost 100 percent of the light through the reflective surface, meaning you no longer need to miss the weather report while your brushing your teeth.Situated in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Philips HomeLab is a kind of R & D Big Brother house.
The fully functioning two-bedroom home doubles as a scientific laboratory where temporary "residents" are observed interacting with new technologies via 34 hidden cameras. Established one year ago, this "natural" environment is aimed at fine tuning prototypes and speeding up the time-to-market for new technologies.
Residents can stay for anywhere from four hours to two weeks depending on the type of research being conducted.More than 200 consumers tested the Mirror TV prototype within the HomeLab and according to Philips, they liked what they saw, appreciating the ability to watch the news and traffic while also shaving or brushing their teeth.
The Mirror TV can provide a range of functions beyond TV programming - bill payment or pay-per-view movies in a hotel for example, or as a large format screen for PC applications. Philips initially plans to market the Mirror TV to hotels, but also sees a market for the product in customised home environments within a few years.
Officials estimate that the home version may be available before 2005 and a more advanced wireless version is also under development. Pricing for the Mirror TV are not available at this stage, with each unit in the initial launch into the hotel market will be custom-built to meet the design specifications of the given space.