How to Make a DIY Magic Mirror
If you have yet to experience the DIY Magic Mirror you
are in for a very cool ride. The DIY Magic Mirror is an
animated mirror which is capable of providing you with the
weather report, your tweets on Twitter, a breathalyzer test,
the latest stock report, and other cool features that allow
you to convert text to speech. The animations are activated
by sensors you can choose based on your installation. The
sensors are also capable of being programmed to different
personalities you can choose from in the included software.
DIY Mirror Functions
If you are learning how to create a DIY Magic Mirror you may find it helpful to understand how it works so when you create the mirror the construction will make a lot more sense. The DIY Magic Mirror functions with a sensor hub which is an electrical device that you plug into the USB port of your PC.
Once the sensor hub is plugged into the PC you can proceed to install the software which is included. The software provides you with access to controls that program the sensors and help you convert text to speech so the Magic Mirror can talk to you. Once installed you can enter instructions to allow the Magic Mirror to perform some of the nifty tasks we described earlier.
Setting Up a DIY Magic Mirror
The Magic Mirror can be created with a used PC that you may happen to have lying around and a used 15-inch LCD monitor. If you do not have a used laptop you can purchase a refurbished one inexpensively at most computer retail locations and the used LCD monitor is very inexpensive to acquire as well.
The other elements which are required to create a DIY Magic Mirror include a dielectric two way mirror, a picture frame with oval matte, an Arduino Micro-Controller, and the Magic Mirror Kit. You can also choose from different types of sensors and there are options available such as dimmer switches and X-10 components. You can choose a mirror frame that suits your décor by browsing your local home improvement center or you can look for an antique frame at your nearest antique dealer.
The LCD monitor can be mounted in portrait or landscape form and should be recessed into the wall so the monitor is flush with the wall surface. The LCD monitor is mounted with a standard bracket and arm which allows you to rotate the monitor 90 degrees. It is important to note that when you recess the monitor into the wall make sure you leave enough room for air to circulate around the monitor.
Once the monitor is in place you can place the two way mirror on the back of the picture frame and then mount it over the LCD monitor. Before you mount the picture frame on the wall you will be able to see through the mirror however once it has the black LCD monitor behind it will look like a typical mirror.
The sensor hub can be constructed by your own choosing if you have experience with circuitry. If you do not have this kind of expertise you can acquire a sensor hub that is preassembled from the Magic Mirror website. Once you have the sensor hub plug it into the USB port on your PC.
With the sensor hub connected you can go ahead and install the software which will provide you with access to the controls that program the Magic Mirror to speak to you. Once the software is installed you will be provided with a control dashboard for programming all of the features you would like to use with your Magic Mirror. There is also a variety of different characters for you to select or you can customize your own character personality.
You do not have to be tech savvy to operate the software for the Magic Mirror since it contains a Quick Setup option which can have you up and running quickly on the default settings. If you are tech savvy then you can opt to use the Advanced Setup which will provide you with access to additional sensors and fringe benefits such as the IP camera so you can see ahead of time who is at your door and the X-10 component. Both software and hardware for the DIY Magic Mirror runs on Windows, MacOS, or Linux and is open source.
(Source: DIY Magic Mirror)