The advent of technological advances in augmented reality, machine learning, and LED lighting systems continue to provide contemporary society with smart technology.
Everything from wearable technology to home appliances like smart fridges are equipped with intelligent technology. And smart home systems streamline all the smart devices in your home through one convenient hub!
But smart bathrooms have arguably benefited the most from these advances.
Smart mirrors employ a two-way mirror powered by a computer that allows you to to project all kinds of helpful information to its surface. Researchers suggest that by 2028, the global market for smart mirrors will reach a whopping value of $7.42 billion.
This brings us to these key questions:
- What is a smart mirror?
- What can it do for your home and quality of life?
- What are its components and features?
These questions and many more will be answered below.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Smart Mirror?
- How Do Smart Mirrors Work?
- What Can Smart Mirrors Do?
- Features of Smart Mirrors
- Who Should Buy a Smart Mirror?
- Smart Mirrors are Perfect for a Smart Bathroom
- Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Mirrors
What Is a Smart Mirror?
Smart mirrors represent an accessible and feature-rich upgrade for your smart bathroom (see our smart home guide for more tips and information).
Also known as a magic mirror, a smart mirror is a two way mirror with a digital display for various useful information and with a computer that powers its features. LED lights are placed behind the mirror as illumination for the digital display.
When the digital features of a smart mirror aren’t in use, the entire mirror can be used like a regular mirror sans the technological bells and whistles. The digital display behind the glass, however, can be turned on automatically, either by motion sensors or voice commands.
What makes a smart mirror “intelligent” is its machine learning-powered ability to display useful, real-time and user-specific information on its digital display. The customized display can include daily news bulletins, local weather forecasts, and social media feeds, without turning on your television and checking on your smartphone.
Smart mirrors are now being used for a wide range of applications that influence the way we live our lives and, thus, the way we think and act! Smart mirror technology can be found in diverse use in the beauty, fitness and automotive industries.
HiMirror, for example, is a smart mirror that displays personalized information about your makeup and skincare. MIrror is a fitness device that provides workout guides on its tempered glass display. There’s an automotive device that provides a wide camera angle via an LCD screen designed to improve driver safety.
Key Takeaways: What a smart mirror is and what it can do will depend on the type of model you buy, however each smart mirror offers functionalities based on projecting helpful information to its screen.
How Do Smart Mirrors Work?
Smart mirrors have three components – a two way mirror, a digital display, and a computer. Every component has its functions such that the absence of one will turn the smart mirror into a regular mirror!
First, a two-way mirror reflects light coming from one direction but lets in light from the other direction. Its design is such that only 30% of light can pass through it.
In contrast, traditional glass mirrors have a coating of film behind the glass designed to reflect 100% of incoming light. You’re then able to see your reflection. Smart mirrors use two-mirror technology so that they can both provide a quality reflection, while also projecting information.
Second, a digital display consisting of a monitor screen is behind the two-way mirror. The display itself can be the same size as the mirror, meaning maximum use of surface area, or it can be smaller than the mirror.
The two-way mirror for smart mirrors are available in various sizes and shapes, too, meaning there will always be one smart mirror that will fit your needs. Smart mirrors come in square, rectangular and oval shapes in sizes ranging from small beauty mirrors to large wall-mounted mirrors.
Third, a small computer is placed behind the glass, and it’s the heart of the smart technology in smart mirrors. While the computer may have a limited processing power, its technical specifications are sufficient to support connection to smart devices like your smartphone, WiFi and Bluetooth.
How does a smart mirror work actually? When the computer program, such as Raspberry Pi, and its motion sensor or voice control detect motion or voice commands, the LED lighting system lights up. The features can then be selected on the screen via touch or shown on the digital display via voice commands.
A Word on Smart Mirror Safety
Note that with many smart mirrors mounted on bathroom walls, safety from electrical shocks and electrocution is of paramount importance. Water and electricity are vital to modern life but smart mirrors are explosive companions!
We suggest looking for waterproof and splash-proof smart mirrors for your bathroom for safety reasons. Look for smart mirrors with an anti-fog feature, too, and adopt safety measures when using smart mirrors in your bathroom.
These include unplugging your bathroom mirror in stormy weather, when not planning to use it for extended periods, and in case of malfunction.
What Can Smart Mirrors Do?
The most important feature of smart mirrors for consumers is their digital display not only because it’s the most obvious but also because of its customization options. The electronic display can show a wide range of useful information via widgets that the user needs, and the information can be changed on a daily basis, too.
The detail with which the digital display shows information depends on your specific needs and wants for the day. You can have information about the current date including day and time as well as your scheduled appointments shown.
You can also have the daily and weekly local forecast displayed on the screen, perhaps even the weather forecast for wherever it is you’re traveling for the day.
Some smart mirrors will come with a higher price tag, but will deliver an extensive list of features in return.
Daily news bulletins from your favorite television newscasts and online webcasts, stock performance updates, and traffic situation reports can also be displayed. With the real-time information, you can make adjustments to your daily schedule, such as your route to the office.
Since smart mirrors are Internet-connected, you can also perform other activities without opening your smartphone and while brushing your teeth! Such as:
- Researching Google for answers
- Displaying your Google calendar agenda
- Researching recipes for the day
- Checking your email
- Ordering groceries and other items online
- Checking your social media feeds are a few examples.
There’s even a smart mirror with depth-sensing cameras in its frame and connected to a smart scale! Every inch of your body can be scanned and information about its measurements can be logged, monitored and compared over time.
Features of Smart Mirrors
Keep in mind that the number, types and level of sophistication of features in smart mirrors differ. Rule of thumb dictates that the more sophisticated the features, the higher the price point it will be.
But it doesn’t necessarily mean that the more expensive the smart mirror, the more useful it will be in your life! Like every smart technology available, there’s a fine line between functionality and frivolity.
Here are the most common – and most useful, too, if we may add – features in smart mirrors:
- A touch screen makes it faster and easier to choose the desired content including the real-time information for display on the screen. This is also a great way to increase your interactions with your smart mirror.
- LED lighting usually consists of a series of LED lights around a smart mirror. While its main purpose is illumination for whatever room the smart mirror is placed in, it’s also designed for mood lighting. You can choose from multiple levels of luminosity, from warm to cool light, depending on your mood and need for illumination.
- A motion sensor automatically turns on a smart mirror when it detects motion from its surroundings. There’s then no need to flip a switch to enjoy light when you’re entering your bathroom or bedroom.
- The facial recognition feature detects the person in the room and then displays customized content based on their preprogrammed preferences.
- Voice control refers to the set of features that control a smart mirror with spoken commands. You can call up features, set reminders, and ask questions as well as control your other smart home devices from your smart mirror. You may also add voice commands using Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.
- Watch television shows using your smart mirrors, too! You can tune into local radio and television stations, play your curated playlists, and even enjoy movies from live streaming services.
- Access the diverse range of smart mirror apps available while performing your morning routine, from brushing your teeth to moving your bowels! Multitasking has never been this easy – from linking to your calendar, email accounts and even bank accounts to starting the robotic cleaning devices in your smart home.
- Use the interactive screen, too, for ensuring your family’s safety and security! Link your smart mirror to your smart deadbolts, doorbells, and other parts of your home’s smart security system. Download your health and wellness apps, too, so that you can monitor your sleep habits, weight progress, and other measures of health.
- Take advantage of the interactive feedback that many smart mirrors now offer! Examples include choosing from your options in clothes, shoes, bags and personal care products without physical fittings; selecting makeup colors and styles without applications and reapplications; and getting a 360-degree view of your OOTD.
- Get more functionality from your smart mirrors by choosing those with camera, microphone and speaker systems! You can now conduct video calls, record music and other enjoyable activities that will not only save time but also make every minute more productive.
Of course, even the best smart display will be less useful and enjoyable if it has water stains and scratches on it!
Be sure to look for water-resistance and scratch-resistance smart mirrors to get the best value for your money.
Who Should Buy a Smart Mirror?
Everybody can benefit from smart mirrors and their features, but not everybody will appreciate them for various reasons. Smart mirrors are more expensive than regular mirrors and, thus, individuals on a budget might have second thoughts about owning one.
With their intelligent features, smart mirrors aren’t also suitable for people whose preference lean toward simpler devices. The smart features may be too complicated and complex for their tastes, although it must also be said that there are basic smart mirrors with simpler features.
But if you’re the type who spends plenty of time on your morning routine, you should consider getting a smart bathroom mirror! The hands free mirror with its smart display means getting your makeup done and choosing the best OOTD while not missing out on important information.
If you’re also into fitness and your love for tracking your progress isn’t limited to wearable technology and smartphones, you will love smart mirrors!
If you’re interested, check out our guide to the best smart mirrors on the market.
Main Point: Individuals–who enjoy technology and who use many different applications to improve their lives–will likely find a smart mirror to be a good investment.
Smart Mirrors are Perfect for a Smart Bathroom
A smart bathroom mirror is a fairly affordable way of sinking your teeth into smart technology! Many smart mirrors are affordable enough yet introduce smart features that result in welcome upgrades to your bathroom. The upgrade from a traditional bathroom to a smart bathroom provides other benefits as well.
You’re also adding a luxurious touch to your bathroom without getting into a costly sinkhole. Bathroom floors with smart heating technology can often require extended construction and costly alterations.
Yet another benefit of smart mirrors for the bathroom is that these add market value to your home! Appraisers call it “adjustments” that increase the value of tech-enabled homes in comparison with similar real property but without the smart technology. The result can be faster selling at a higher price.
But be sure to have smart mirrors installed in your home before listing it for sale. Most buyers appreciate the pre-installation since it saves them time and money.
Bottom line: A smart mirror is one of the most affordable purchases to upgrade a traditional bathroom, or improve an existing smart bathroom. Other smart bathroom devices can cost more, and may require hiring workers to assist in the installation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Smart Mirrors
How much do smart mirrors cost?
The smart mirror cost is often the first consideration among potential buyers for a good reason. With a computer system and smart features, a basic smart mirror can cost more than a regular mirror of the same size, shape and aesthetic value.
But there are numerous benefits to even a basic smart mirror that will justify its cost in the long run. A small smart makeup mirror can be priced as low as $120, and there are mirrors that go for about $550.
For a higher-end smart mirror cost, such as the $1,500 fitness-focused Mirror, the features are more sophisticated.
Can you install a smart mirror yourself?
Yes, you can install a store-bought smart mirror on your own!
Putting it on a wall is the easiest part while the more challenging aspects are in following the installation instructions on the owner’s manual.
Check out the mirror features, too, and put in as much detail as you want on the display.
Can you build your own smart mirror?
Yes, it’s straightforward enough to build a DIY smart mirror, from putting together its three components to programming your desired features. You will find plenty of DIY guides to create your own smart mirror in your home, as well as the necessary parts.
Aside from the computer monitor, you will need the technology behind the glass that powers the mirror features. There are different modules, such as Raspberry Pi and Magic Mirror. You will also build a frame for the smart mirror.
But before building a DIY smart mirror, you may want to do a cost-and-benefit analysis. You may be able to save time by buying a ready-made smart mirror or you can build your own if you’re the crafty and tech-savvy type.
We have a guide for how to build your own smart mirror affordably!
Can smart mirrors break?
Yes, a smart mirror can break but since it’s usually constructed with tempered glass, it will only shatter into pieces. Unlike traditional glass mirrors which can break into long and sharp pieces.
To avoid breaking it, be sure that it’s safely and securely mounted on the wall. You should also avoid throwing things at it for obvious reasons.