Archive for category: IoT

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

“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!” —

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 🙂

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