Smart Mirror Build Log: Intro

With the winding down of the Firefox OS / smartphone project, and a new interest in IoT and connected devices, I thought it would be fun and instructive to go out and build something connected. I settled on the “smart mirror” concept as a nifty thing that would be actually useful at home, and fun to make. I first saw this via hackaday featuring a Magic Mirror project. Its a doable project and should drop me in the middle of some more or less unfamiliar territory: getting hardware talking to software, lots of linux hackery, sensor inputs and gpio, and orchestrating moving parts up and down the stack. It should also be a good test platform to build on, to explore different technologies and interactions.

So, I have in mind a dashboard of sorts, displayed on a monitor/tv behind a two-way mirror. It should collect together some local and remote data of a sort that might be useful to know before you head out into the world: date/time, weather, appointments, actual (vs forecast) conditions and so on. As there wont be any keyboard/mouse/touch inputs, any direct user interactions (not sure yet what they would be if anything) would need to be hands-off - maybe voice input? some kind of presence or simply proximity detection to activate it?

I’m keeping notes as I go about this and I’ll post a series of updates with progress, dead-ends and observations. Some decisions I’ve already made - I’ll start out running this on a Raspberry Pi, the dashboard will be an HTML page in a fullscreen browser - others I’ll figure out along the way. In the past I’ve found that there is no substitute for actually making something to understand what the nature of the challenges will be, and its usually not what you expect. So, I expect to fall into all the traps, trip on all the hurdles and generally fumble my way though. Sounds like fun :)