Smart mirrors are straight from science fiction. They’re part of an optimistic vision of the future that imagines a world where screens and data are everywhere, ready to feed you whatever information you need at a moment’s notice.
But it turns out that building your own smart mirror isn’t just science fiction — it’s actually really easy to put one together. So don’t wait around for some random kickstarter to get its act together and sell you a smart mirror with electronics and display options.
Here is how to build one yourself.
- A Raspberry Pi 3, or an older Raspberry Pi with a Wi-Fi adapter.
- A monitor with HDMI-in. This will be the screen for the smart mirror, so whatever size you choose is how big your mirror will ultimately be. It should also power a USB device, so you won’t need a second plug for the Pi.
- A two-way glass mirror. You’ll want to get one that’s the same size as your monitor. Acrylic ones will work, but the end result will be a lot dimmer (although it’s much cheaper).
- A mouse and keyboard, which you’ll need to get things set up on the Pi.
- A-frame for the mirror. In the build here, I used a shadow box from a local art store. (We put some cardboard matting in for the parts that were too wide.) Depending on your preference, you can find something similar or build a custom frame yourself.
Once you’ve got everything installed and arranged to your liking, it’s time to turn the smart screen into a smart mirror. To do that, put your two-way mirror in your frame (making sure the reflective side is out) and mount it onto your monitor.
Alternatively, if you’re willing to put a little more DIY effort into things, you can take the monitor’s hardware out of the plastic casing and build more permanent housing for your mirror.