Purdue students create mirror that also is a monitor

April 30, 2015  

mirror mirror

Purdue University students Joshua Berg, John Lee, Matt Molo, Nick Molo and Timothy Vincent have developed technology that shows the date, time, weather conditions and news on a monitor that acts like a traditional mirror. The students have launched a startup called MirrorMirror to commercialize the technology. (Purdue Research Foundation photo/Oren Darling)
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue students seeking a way to save time by being able to get ready in the morning while checking the latest news, emails and even bus schedules have created a monitor that shows relevant information to the user and acts like a traditional mirror.

The students, Timothy Vincent and Matt Molo from the College of Science, and Nick Molo, John Lee and Joshua Berg from the College of Engineering, said the technology is designed to serve both purposes.

"When users wake up in the morning and brush their teeth, they can view information such as weather, traffic and their emails," Berg said. "It is not meant to replace a smartphone. It's a subtle way of providing all the information in one place."

The team produced its prototype technology, called MirrorMirror, during BoilerMake 2014, which is a 36-hour hackathon at Purdue University. The team was inspired by their needs of staying updated with the bus schedule.

"We thought it would be nice to have some sort of display in the house," Matt Molo said. "But we didn't think people would want another monitor on their walls, so we made it a mirror."

The team has received positive feedback at various events, including winning first place at Exhibyte, a computer science fair hosted by the Undergraduate Student Board of the Purdue Department of Computer Science.

"At all the events where we showed our invention, people frequently were surprised that the mirror displayed real-time information," Vincent said. "This usually was followed by comments of, 'I want one,' or 'When does it go on sale?'"

MirrorMirror employs a facial recognition feature so relevant information will be displayed when the user looks into the mirror. The team also will utilize open framework development so a variety of applications will be available.

"The mirror will display general information most of the time, but when it recognizes a user it will display their information such as emails or scores of the latest game," said Nick Molo. "With our open development platform, anyone who has the ability to build an app can do so and share it with other users. There could be infinite possibilities of how a user could personalize the mirror."

The students also plan on the mirror becoming a central control for home automation products already found in many households.

"In 2012 it was determined that 1.5 million consumers have some sort of home automation device," said Nick Molo. "Examples include Nest, the thermostat and Phillips' Hue light bulbs. We would like MirrorMirror to be a hub for home automation."

The team is looking to mass produce their invention, which could help cut costs. They will focus on the project during the summer.

"Most of us will be here during the summer, and we really want to see how far we can take it during those months when we have more time to focus on it," Lee said.

About MirrorMirror LLC

MirrorMirror is the bridge between the past and future, utilizing the age old household mirror as a seamless gateway into virtual reality. The base of a mirror provides a contextual surface on which you can display relevant information to your life. MirrorMirror can display, the time, weather, latest news, latest tweets and anything you can dream up. An open source framework allows for configuration of the modules which comprise the mirror. Facial recognition automatically loads the user's profile as soon as they look into the mirror. MirrorMirror can also synchronize your home by displaying information from home automation products such as wireless thermostats, electronic door locks, Wi-Fi enabled light bulbs and more.  

Writer: Melissa Wang, 765-588-1041, mkwang@prf.org

Purdue Research Foundation contact: Steve Martin, 765-588-3342, sgmartin@prf.org

Source: Timothy Vincent, 978-234-7056, team@mirrormirror.glass 

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