How about building a magic mirror?!

25 Mar 2017
March 25, 2017

It was winter, dark and cold outside, maybe rainy – something must have been really odd – because I started to build something physically, my very first hardware project – a magic mirror. And having two left hands I am trying to avoid as much as I can to build things outside of Visual Studio if you know what I mean… and it was July.

 

Magic Mirror – the idea

taken from https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/magicmirrormain.jpg

“It’s called a ‘Magic Mirror’, but a more accurate name would be a ‘Smart Mirror’,” Bradley tells us. “It’s a mirror that displays the information you need to know at a quick glance: the time, the date, the weather, and of course a compliment!” — https://www.raspberrypi.org/magpi/magic-mirror/

And then I talked to Heino at a SharePoint conference who told me that he had one and how easy it was to build one, getting the mirror and all that  – thanks Heino…!!! 🙂

My initial goal was to build a small mirror to show off at the office – show some personalized things like appointments, news, twitter feed, weather, nothing fancy, right?

Getting started

I never thought that getting the first thing to work was so easy. Actually it took me 1 hour to have the first mirror up and running:

  1. Order a perfect starter kit [ref] at Amazon – with a RasberryPi3, a case, adapters,
  2. Plug it in and connect it to a monitor
  3. Boot up noobs and install raspbian
  4. Setup the magicmirror² software with one line of shell script:

4 easy steps and ~1 hour later – the result looked like this:

 

A promising start with a calendar, some nice descriptive text about the viewer and a weather forecast (that did not work on the screenshot) – except no SharePoint, right?

But it doesn’t look like a mirror yet…

Building the frame

I was a little bit afraid of building something out of wood, putting a mirror in front of it – so I decided to make my life as easy as possible:

Step 1: Get your old monitor out of the basement (for free!)
Step 2: Remove everything from the mirror (the foot and everything that you do not need) to get the panel as flat as possible
Step 3: Measure the width and height of the screen
Step 4: Go to building supplies store and get the wood for the frame, some screws and mirror glue
Step 5: Assemble the frame
Step 6: Order a double-sided acrylic mirror with the exact size of your frame
Step 7: Glue everything together

Followed by being super happy about the result:

Wow, you look hot!

Lots of glue and some red color

OK – that was a little abbreviated and sounded too easy – I followed this guide and got a lot of help from the building supplies store guys – and I am thankful for that 🙂

But the quality of the mirror combined with my 10-year-old monitor is really good – if I cover the backside so that it’s entirely dark inside, the monitor is not visible on the front and the display magically appears.

The software

I tried to create some modules for a SharePoint integration – but at that time node.js and the module felt odd – so I took another road and installed Windows IoT core on my Pi – but that’s not done yet and I will follow-up with a blog post once I have something to show.

For just basic stuff the magic mirror software really looks mature, lots of modules and plugins ranging from webcams, Alexa integration, stock ticker – it’s all there and ready to use.

If the weather outside would be nice right now, I would happily accept what I get there for free – but I want to build something by myself – My version of a magic mirror 🙂

Max Melcher
Follow me!

Max Melcher

Maximilian Melcher (MCSE, MCPD) is a Principal Consultant working at Alegri International Services in Munich, Germany. Max is a specialist in SharePoint technologies focused on search, social computing, web content management and collaboration. Max has led SharePoint implementations for Dax 30 companies since 2009.
Max’s free time is spent on twitter (@maxmelcher) mostly with a good coffee in his hands.
Max Melcher
Follow me!
Tags:
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close