The concept of a smart mirror has been around for a while, but none of them have really materialized into a real product yet. Microsoft joined the fray at its Build conference in March demoing its own Magic Mirror. It has now explained the tricks behind the concept and provided those who don't mind a little DIY work with the tools to build their own.
Microsoft's design uses an LCD display behind a plane of one-way mirrored glass. In this way, someone can see their reflection as well as the underlying display thanks to a stark, white-on-black contrast ratio and neat typeface.
The mirror displays information like the time, date, weather, stocks and traffic through an interface that's designed to be unintrusive while you fix your hair. The important details go up the top, the less urgent stuff down below, and apart from a greeting that quickly disappears, the main space of the mirror is left for your face – it still needs to function as a normal mirror, after all.
It can even scan and recognize your face to bring up your profile, complete with a customized layout of the information you've deemed important. With multiple profiles, the mirror can be personalized for every member of the household.
Behind the scenes, the Magic Mirror is powered by a Raspberry Pi 3 running a Hosted Web App on Windows 10 IoT Core, making it more or less a consumer-level project – assuming that consumer has a little technical know-how.
The details and instructions on how putting together your own Magic Mirror can be found on Microsoft's GitHub repository. Given the lack of any commercial product to date, it might be the only way to see this piece of sci-fi tech come to life.