With the ultimate goal of developing "an operating system for physical locations", technology start-up Estimote has unveiled Mirror, a video-enabled smart beacon designed to inject a touch of Minority Report into otherwise mundane shopping or airport situations. Thanks to an inbuilt Bluetooth LE sensor, the device can sense nearby smartphones or compatible stickers, and display personalized information to the viewer.
According to Estimote, the range of potential applications for the device spans everything from airport departure gates to busy shoe shops. Lost travellers could wander up to a display with the relevant airline app open, and the screen would be able to direct them to the correct gate, or give them information about flight cancellations.
Estimote also demonstrates a scenario where shoppers take shoes adorned with compatible stickers up to a TV screen, which automatically displays size and pricing info when they get close.
Mirror hardware includes a system-on-chip, complete with video processing, hiding away within the colourful dongle, along with Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi receivers. Estimote says the unit's firmware has been designed to open up a wide range of interactions, and the wireless connectivity means developers can hook Mirror up to the cloud so the information it provides is always up to date.
The company also says making it work shouldn't give developers too much of a headache, thanks to an SDK that can be easily embedded into existing apps or used to create new ones.
Hooking Mirror up to the television is as simple as plugging one end into an HDMI port and the other into a USB slot for power. But the design of the device means users will need to find a TV with the two ports next to each other lest some extension cables be required.
Deliveries are set to start in (Northern Hemisphere) winter, and pre orders are currently open.
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