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article imageSeattle web developer creates voice-controlled smart mirror Special

By Michael Thomas     Oct 22, 2015 in Technology
A Seattle web developer has created a smart mirror that runs on voice commands. It can display the time, temperature and a personalized message — and a lot more.
Evan Cohen first got inspired to build his smart mirror when he saw the work of Hannah Mitt, who built an Android application that powers her mirror. Cohen also took some inspiration from Michael Teeuw's "Magic Mirror" concept, but Cohen built his own project from scratch. He had seen smart mirrors controlled by gestures, but wanted to build one that was voice-controlled.
In mid-September, he built the prototype in just one weekend and spent the next few days polishing the interface. Before he built it, Cohen didn't actually have a mirror in his room, so by fixing that problem he also added in a control for his home environment.
Though the smart mirror goes above and beyond what a regular mirror can do, UPI reports, Cohen still calls the invention a work in progress.
"The bugs are fairly minmal but I have a laundry list of things I want to implement," Cohen told Digital Journal over the phone. "The actual interface now looks pretty good."
Cohen shot the video while he was doing his laundry. "You can totally hear the dryer in the background, making noise," he said, laughing.
Even in its unfinished state, the voice-activated mirror is more than impressive, as demonstrated in the video. As Cohen says "Wake up," the mirror comes to life and instantly displays the time, the temperature outside and a customized message (in this case, Cohen has the mirror say "Hi, sexy!").
It goes beyond just that novelty, however; Cohen in the video also brings up maps of Seattle and Berkeley, California. Then he pulls off his most "fun" trick — he turns off the lights in his room, then turns them back on but makes them blue, then pink.
Among the many things Cohen wants to eventually add to his mirror are a stock ticker, traffic information on his maps and integration with streaming devices like Chromecast. He also wants to integrate some hand gestures into the mirror — for example, users could say "Turn on the lights" and then move their hands up and down to set dimness.
There's no finish line for this project; Cohen is just having a lot of fun building it. "It's like poetry, it's never really finished until you stop working on it," he said.
According to the specs Cohen posted on Github, the mirror makes its magic with a Raspberry Pi computer running Chromium, a USB microphone, a monitor with its bezel removed and mirror glass itself. The lights he used are Phlips Hue smart bulbs.
"There's been a pretty considerable interest around (the mirror)," Cohen said. "I've had a lot of people ask for a how-to video."
More about smart mirror, evan cohen, Seattle
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