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The magic mirror of the future won’t just say you’re the prettiest of them all. It’ll also tell you the time, date, weather outside, upcoming calendar appointments, and more. In fact, you can make such a smart mirror right now. All you need is a Raspberry Pi and some DIY work.

A smart mirror is featured on one of these amazing videos to peek into the future 8 Amazing Videos to See Smart Homes in Action 8 Amazing Videos to See Smart Homes in Action People have been living in smart homes for 20 years! So what kind smart home tech of tomorrow can actually be demonstrated today? Let's see the life that awaits us in the near future, not... Read More . You can’t yet buy a smart mirror, although that should happen soon enough. For now, your only option is to build it yourself. It’ll cost you roughly $300 to start from scratch, but you can easily cut costs and get it down to $100. Especially if you use the low-cost, hacker-friendly Raspberry Pi.

Why You Need a Raspberry Pi

A smart mirror is basically a mirror with a screen behind it. That screen can be an Android tablet or a computer monitor. Naturally, a monitor will make for a larger mirror. It’s also a great way to repurpose an old LCD monitor. But you can’t cram a full computer in there, unless you use a Raspberry Pi.

Smart Mirror Raspberry Pi in Hand

The Pi is basically a credit card-sized computer 9 Things You Wanted to Know About Raspberry Pi 9 Things You Wanted to Know About Raspberry Pi What is a "Raspberry Pi"? Who made it? What's the point? What can you do with it? Let's find answers for all the frequently asked questions about the Raspberry Pi. Read More . It runs Linux-based operating systems, and has a large community of developers. In fact, the smart mirror DIY community prefers the Pi over all other methods. Throw in its $35 price tag and it’s a no-brainer to use this over any other gadgetry.

At the moment, no one has made a smart mirror with the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Zero Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Zero Whether you bought a magazine with one glued to the front, or found a kit online, the chances are you're now the proud owner of a $5 computer: the Raspberry Pi Zero. Read More . It should be possible, but you’d need to add network connectivity.

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What You’ll Need

Whichever smart mirror project you decide to do from this list, there are a few elements you’ll always need. To make your search easier, and to stop repeating ourselves, here are the most important components.

A Two-Way Mirror

It’s a smart mirror, so it should be no surprise that you actually need a mirror, right? The project requires a two-way mirror, which you can buy at TwoWayMirrors.com or head to your local hardware store. Ideally, get it from the site since you can customize the height, width, and edges. It has become so popular among the DIY crowd that it has a separate smart mirror price calculator now.

An LCD Monitor

Smart Mirror LCD Monitor

This is the best way to make use of any old computer monitor you have lying around. Behind the mirror, you’ll be installing a monitor. You could buy a new one, but you’ll save big bucks by buying used devices The Ultimate Guide to Buying Used Devices The Ultimate Guide to Buying Used Devices I bought my current laptop, a 2011 Macbook Pro, on Craigslist almost four years ago. Here are some tips I picked up during my quest. Read More instead. Hit up Craigslist or Freecycle and you’ll likely find one for cheap. Needless to say, the monitor needs to be smaller than the mirror.

A Raspberry Pi

Smart Mirror Raspberry Pi 3D Diagram

So far, no one has made a smart mirror with the $5 Pi Zero. So your cheapest option at the moment is using a Raspberry Pi B for around $20 and adding a Wi-Fi dongle. If you can afford it, get the new $35 Raspberry Pi 3 (CA/UK), which has built-in Wi-Fi. Choose the product and distributor that’s best for you on the official site.

A Wooden Frame

A Collection of Wooden Frames

Something to hold together that mirror and the monitor behind it. You can optionally skip this step, but it’ll look a bit rough around the edges, and require serious cable management. Your local hardware store should sort you out.

Along with these, you’ll need all the basic tools required with them. So make sure you have a screwdriver, screws, sander, woodworking tools, and so on.

MagicMirror²: The Original Open-Source Pi Smart Mirror

This is the MagicMirror². There are many like it, but this one is Michael Teuw’s. He was among the first to build and document the entire smart mirror process with a Raspberry Pi. In fact, he made all his work open source and modular, so that anyone could build their own and improve on it.

Smart Mirrors Raspberry Pi MagicMirror 2

Michael has written a six-part series on the MagicMirror², so you can read all about it on his blog. He’ll take you through the full setup and build.

The best part is how easy he has made the process. Run a simple bash script from MagicMirror², and your Raspberry Pi will be ready to go. The default modules include a clock, a calendar, weather forecast, news feed, and a complimentary message. And people are building third-party modules that you can install.

If you’re new to the world of smart mirrors, this is the project to start with. It has a large community around it and you can ask for help on the MagicMirror² forum.

WebsitesFull guide | Github

MirrorMirror: The Best Hardware Guide

Dylan Pierce’s MirrorMirror isn’t related to MagicMirror, but it’s just as useful. Mainly because Pierce’s original blog post is the best step-by-step guide to the actual building process.

Smart Mirrors Raspberry Pi MirrorMirror

Pierce broke from the norm and installed Raspbian on his Pi How To Install An Operating System To Your Raspberry Pi How To Install An Operating System To Your Raspberry Pi Here's how to get a new OS installed and running on your Pi – and how to clone your perfect setup for quick disaster recovery. Read More , then loaded Chromium to run on startup. Finally, he made his own web page and server.

Before you make your own smart mirror, read the full post. Pierce was building this smart mirror as a gift. So he has taken care to ensure it looks brilliant. There are useful steps in here, like how to remove a monitor’s bezel or cable management. But the jewel of the piece is in his woodworking.

If you aren’t familiar with woodworking but want to make a frame for your smart mirror, Pierce’s build is the best. He even set up a MirrorMirror forum for any help you need.

WebsitesFull guide | Discussion

The Voice Controlled Smart Mirror

You can actually interact with Evan Cohen’s smart mirror by talking to it like an Android phone How to Control Your Android Device Entirely with Your Voice How to Control Your Android Device Entirely with Your Voice Want to control your Android phone or tablet completely with your voice? This official app from Google makes it surprisingly easy. Read More . And yes, it still runs on a Raspberry Pi — you don’t need an Android device.

Cohen has provided the full documentation of how to build, install, and operate his smart mirror. The video is really impressive, and it works with several third-party apps. For example, you can control smart LED lights like Philips Hue Light Your Home the Smart Way With Philips Hue Light Your Home the Smart Way With Philips Hue If you can afford the initial expenditure, you won't find a better-supported and more user-friendly smart lighting system on the market. Read More by talking to your mirror.

This one too has a wonderful, detailed hardware guide. If you’re planning to build it, use the provided guide instead of Pierce’s method.

WebsitesFull guide | Github

Smart Mirror Mini: The Cheapest Yet

If you don’t want to spend much on your first build, go with Nathan Patrick’s build. The Smart Mirror Mini costs just less than $100 to build.

He cut down the size to save cost, using a 7-inch screen instead of a full-size. So the display area will be limited, but remember, you can still use a larger mirror if you want to. Maybe only use one corner of your entire mirror instead of the whole surface.

WebsitesFull guide | Discussion

The Gesture-Controlled Smart Mirror

Can you make a touchscreen smart mirror? Yes, it’s possible. But that means fingerprint smudges. It’s smarter to use gesture-control. For that, you need Hover, a Raspberry Pi expansion module Five Great Raspberry Pi Expansions That Make It Even More Useful Five Great Raspberry Pi Expansions That Make It Even More Useful Your Raspberry Pi is versatile and at times amazing, but are you harnessing the full power of that little box? Power-up your Pi with these 5 expansions! Read More for gesture and touch sensors.

Builder Adam Laycock still hasn’t got the whole thing working well, so you can follow his blog to see where this goes. Or if you’re a coder yourself, play around with the Hover repository to build your own gesture-controlled tools.

WebsitesGuide (Not Finished)

The Coolest Mirror Yet: Touchscreen Smart Mirror

Ryan Newlan made the absolute best smart mirror we have seen so far. It looks cool, but more than that, it does cool things. It’s a touchscreen mirror with a bunch of great apps.

You can watch YouTube videos. You can browse Reddit. You can control your Nest smart thermostat How to Install and Use the Nest Thermostat to Automate Energy Savings How to Install and Use the Nest Thermostat to Automate Energy Savings If you've ever considered getting started with home automation, purchasing a Nest thermostat is the perfect way to start. In just a week of using it, we cut our energy consumption in half. Read More . You can even hail an Uber! Newlan hasn’t shared how he made it, so we don’t know if this uses a Raspberry Pi or not. But just look at it! Oh yeah, it’s real.

Smart Mirrors: Raspberry Pi vs. Others

If you’ve made a smart mirror, we want to see what it’s like. So share a link in the comments below.

More importantly, if you’re going to make one yourself, would you build one with the Raspberry Pi or go with a different device? Android-based smart mirrors seem easier, since there’s no coding involved. But they’re also much more limited by screen size.

What’s your take on smart mirrors?

  1. Yannick
    November 6, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Android devices are not limited by screen size, just plug an android dongle into the hdmi of a screen or even better...a TV ! That would be big !
    Also, if all you want to do is display some info on the screen, you could just use an online dashboard service like cyfe or klipfolio, and have your android browser display that page. No need to reinvent the wheel :)

  2. ohiojoe
    September 15, 2016 at 8:07 pm

    I made mine with a 12"x12" sample mirror from twowaymirror.com . A 10" lcd screen and video board. A Raspberry pi 3. Mounted it in a display box frame.
    It uses code from https://github.com/jangellx/MagicMirror

    I added Mopidy software to play music, see Musicbox. http://www.pimusicbox.com

    The mirror displays the current song title and artist. Along with the usual time, temperature, calendar, news feeds and your own time based comments .

  3. David A
    September 11, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    This is not really a smart mirror, it's an interface in a mirrored surface. A smart morror would give you a true image of yourself and not a mirror image . It would also deliver views of back & sides of head.

    • Fik of Borg
      September 12, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      I cut my own hair (what's left of it) and I could use one of those!
      Ideally it should reverse the back of the head image to facilitate eye-mirror-hand coordination. Shouldn't be hard, just add a webcam?

  4. A. Kounovsky
    September 10, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Well, if you're into fingerprints everywhere on your mirror, I say go for it.

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