DIY Smart Mirror

Googler ‘Max Braun’ Builds His Own Smart Bathroom Mirror

February 2, 2016 - Written By Justin Diaz

Smart connected home tech is not exactly a new idea, and companies have been gradually introducing more and more smart home products and appliances over the past couple of years at some of the world’s biggest consumer electronic shows. Companies like Samsung who are well-versed in many different areas of technology such as displays, have even shown off concepts of a smart connected mirror that could be capable of displaying different pieces of information to you as you get ready in the morning. No products like this are available on the market quite yet though, despite how cool they might sound.

One Google engineer named Max Braun has taken it upon himself to build a smart mirror of his own. Not necessarily because it was something he’d been desperately wanting, but perhaps more so because he had the means and the know-how to make it happen. That isn’t to say it wasn’t something he was wanting to some degree, as Braun states that he had come to the conclusion last summer that he wanted his bathroom mirror to “be more” and function “like the future promised in movies” and since he wasn’t able to buy one he created one himself.

This led him to gather the necessary parts he needed for his project which consisted of a display panel, two-way mirror, a control board, and various other supplies he would need to hack together the finished product. Braun notes that the mirror definitely looks “a little bit messy” on the inside.  The results on the outside though show a promising potential product that hopefully other companies will follow suit with someday. Braun states that the UI is made up of only a few hundred lines of code using Android APIs, with devices like a Chromecast, Nexus player, and now the Fire TV stick acting as the device hardware to run the UI behind the scenes. After getting everything set up, when looking at the mirror one can now see various pieces of information like the weather forecast, the time and date, and news headlines from the Associated Press. He’s also worked it so that the UI will display some color in it for the weather, like that seen in the image gallery below displaying a sunny forecast, unless the weather is cloudy. Beyond that, Braun kept all of the text monochrome to keep it from being too distracting. While you can’t necessarily build this yourself off of Braun’s designs or go out and get one at your local hardware or electronics stores, it does provide some inspiration for those that might be able to build their own as well, and it gives those wanting one something look forward to from manufacturers.