Around The Home

Microsoft reveals the tricks behind its Magic Mirror

Microsoft reveals the tricks b...
Microsoft has provided details on its Magic Mirror project, including instructions on how you can build your own
Microsoft has provided details on its Magic Mirror project, including instructions on how you can build your own
View 2 Images
Microsoft has provided details on its Magic Mirror project, including instructions on how you can build your own
1/2
Microsoft has provided details on its Magic Mirror project, including instructions on how you can build your own
The Magic Mirror can display information like the time, date, weather, stocks and traffic, and is customizable according to what's important to you
2/2
The Magic Mirror can display information like the time, date, weather, stocks and traffic, and is customizable according to what's important to you

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.

The Magic Mirror can display information like the time, date, weather, stocks and traffic, and is customizable according to what's important to you
The Magic Mirror can display information like the time, date, weather, stocks and traffic, and is customizable according to what's important to you

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.

Source: Microsoft

9 comments
splatman
News? There have been magic mirrors on Instructables for ages.
Captain Obvious
And the ones on Instructables.com mostly run on Linux, not Windows.
Lbrewer42
As is typical with everything Micro(brain)soft has ever done...
This is old tech. It has been done with a better software system.
Yet they tout it as their own, make a big media splash, and people are conned into believing it.
Its like back in the 80s when the Amiga computer platform was being interfaced with VR headsets (yes - clear back then - its nothing new)... Micro(brain)soft claimed - and flooded the media with - the idea they had invented VR b/c they could make a 3D maze onscreen as a screensaver.
Then lets move on to multitasking. The Amiga had something I am still waiting to see a platform do again... preemptive multitasking where dedicated chips could individually access the RAM and eliminated any slow down with any process. More a design like the human brain with its speech centers, audio center, visual center, etc. Microsoft's answer to keep their inferior tech going was to claim they invented multitasking - yet it was still just software trickery of fast time sharing between processes. Lame... very lame. Programs on all modern platforms STILL suffer lags when 30 year old technology had defeated this problem... and running only at 7 MHZ!
Watson on Jeopardy: The program broadcast made it look like Watson could understand human speech and respond accordingly. Look into it and you find there was no voice recognition and it was a sham once again. All Watson did is what your search engine does, compared the results to the syntax of the question, ran a probability algorithm, and chose what response mathematically computed to the most likely response. This is not a all that complex of an algorithm - certainly not for a company claiming to be a leader in programming technologies.
Given the same algorithm for selecting most probable answers, the cell phones of the day, equipped with voice recognition, would have been capable of the same thing. But Micro(brain)soft has the money to toot its own horn very loudly.
I wish the populace would dump its ill=focused romance with lame Microsoft. Because of its money to market its inferior products,and their relying on people not taking the time to research the higher tech that has always been available, this sham of an organization has held us back for so very long its disgusting.
Firehawk70
There have been magic mirrors in Europe for hundreds of years. I read about one once and saw it depicted in several movies.
Dr-Zin
All is fine, until they said facial recognition. Very anti-smart stuff here, just another gateway to personal privacy, no thanks, but still cool.
f8lee
Imagine the BSOD while you are trying to shave...
splatman
@Lbrewer42 Watson was IBM, not Micro$oft.
Tanstar
@Lbrewer42 So your 1980s Amiga computer could handle modern software without a hitch, huh?
@Firehawk70 Nice :)
Giorgio
The Madrid taxi has been using this technic for a while. Please visit the page http://www.autoselizasu.com/ae/ventas/taxi/ and the product "Taxímetro espejo HALE SPT-01 y SPT-02"