Thalmic Labs is very much that – a lab.

The Kitchener-based company is the creator of the Myo, a gesture-controlled armband.

During a recent internal hackathon, Ian Seyler, Thalmic’s Systems and Network Administrator, created a smart display mirror.

“We had people writing apps for the Myo store as we go live with the product, and I’m not really great at writing apps for Android or iOS” said Seyler, who opted to go for something he could build.

When he finished the mirror, which is made up of only a few off-the-shelf components, he launched a small Kickstarter campaign on Nov. 22.

“This isn’t a standard mirror that you find in a bathroom, this is an observation mirror…[which] allows light to reflect off it, but it also allows light to pass through it from the back,” Seyler said.

The observation mirror, plus the LCD screen that sits behind it, displays the weather, date and a calendar, as well as a rotation of pre-programmed phrases, like “Looking good today.”

“You can even surf a web page on this thing, but it doesn’t look great because the colour is going through that glass,” he said.

Seyler used Michael Teeuw’s Magic Mirror code, from Github, to show a working a prototype in the weekend.

Smart mirrors aren’t a new concept.

“Panasonic and a couple of the big players are playing with this technology, but nothing is out on the consumer market,” Seyler said.

The scope these big-name electronic brands are taking is quite extensive, experimenting with augmented reality by mounting cameras and overlaying images on top of reflections.

“They will show you different outfits you can be wearing with your face in the reflection and then calculate where to put the computer image over the top of it,” Seyler explained.

And yet, these devices are still in prototyping.

“It’s really expensive just based on the size and how they are scaling it out,” he said. “They’re probably waiting to see if there is going to be enough interest before they bring a product to market.”

Seyler has taken a simpler route, powering the mirror with a Raspberry Pi, a small pocket-sized computer, and setting a modest Kickstarter goal of $5,000 that has already reached almost $900.

“I just wanted to make a few of them, get them out and see what people think of them,” he said, adding that, “If the Kickstarter was to take off, I would want to branch out into more custom design.”

But with Seyler hoping to add Myo capabilities to the mirror, this could spark further interest in controlling connected devices.

“We are always looking for ways to use technology to control different things and I think appliances will be one of those.”

Photo: Ian Seyler, Systems and Network Administrator at Thalmic Labs, with his SmartMirror 

About The Author

Trish Crompton
Digital Journalist/Social Media Manager

Trish Crompton brings her passion for technology and digital media expertise to Communitech's External Relations team. Trish was born in Sydney, Australia and has called Waterloo Region home since 2008. She is a marketing graduate of Conestoga College.