Over the past few years, we’ve seen consumer technology make leaps and bounds to the way we exercise, travel, and live our daily lives. You can now program your fridge to track what food you need to buy, communicate with people who speak different languages via handheld devices, and even have your car drive you to work. But nowhere is the funky, whimsical Iron Man-esque consumer technology that’s changing the very fabric of humanity becoming more apparent than in smart mirrors.
Yes, seriously. These futuristic advancements in tech are giving a whole new meaning to “objects in mirror are closer than they appear” and are also taking mirrors from simple $25 pieces of glass to so much more. Here’s how our ordinary bathroom mirrors could become one of our more expensive home items, beyond the looking glass.
Personal training is as simple as hanging a mirror in your living room.
While exercise technology becomes more sophisticated, one of the prime examples of that sophistication comes in the form of a regular-looking mirror.
Working out at home is now easier than ever—we know this. Thanks to the likes of smartwatches and fitness apps, gone are the days where you need to pop in a DVD and try your best to follow along to a yoga program or try to keep up with Jillian Michaels as she attempts to give you shredded abs. These days, at-home workouts are as close to personal training as one could get without actually hiring a personal trainer, not least of which thanks to smart mirror personal trainers.
Take, for example, Mirror, a personal training mirror that Digital Trends calls an “on-demand, interactive home gym built into what looks like an ordinary full-length mirror. […] The device is essentially a one-way mirror baked into a giant LCD screen, and behind your reflection, it lets you see a personal trainer who guides you through a variety of workouts.” Not only can you park yourself in front of one of these mirrors and follow along—literally mirroring the form of the person on the screen—you can also get real-time updates on all of your fitness data.
Track heart rate, calories burned, form, and more so you can gauge how you’re doing in the moment. Plus, just like a real personal trainer, personal training mirrors even give you little nudges when you need to pick up the pace. Bonus: they won’t hear you mutter, “Screw you” under your breath before doing another set of burpees.
Try on clothes without the hassle of actually, you know, putting them on or going into a store.
Using smart mirrors to improve the apparel shopping experience is far and away the most well-known application of this technology, and there’s a reason for that.
When Harry Potter gazed into the Mirror of Erised, he saw himself with his parents. When Ron Weasley gazed into the magical glass, he saw himself winning fame and glory beyond his wildest dreams, outshining his many siblings. I think if I gazed into the Mirror of Erised, I would probably be trying on all the clothes that I put into my ASOS and Nordstrom carts and let sit there, gathering digital dust. Yeah, if I were in front of that mirror, I would definitely be trying on clothes digitally, à la Cher from Clueless — without the hassle of going into the store or having to stare at myself in a funhouse mirror in a tight, overheated fitting room.
While there are apps that let you get a sense of what clothing might look like on you before you click “purchase,” the technology has, by and large, been a bit clunky. That, however, is changing—and fast. There are products like SenseMi, which allow you to try on clothing in-store without actually having to strip down and all that jazz. There are also smart mirrors that allow you to take photos of what you’re trying on and compare pictures side-by-side
So when you think that wrap dress looks bomb.com on you in the Amazon mirror, looks are not going to be deceiving.
No more smearing lipstick onto your wrists and trying to imagine what it’s like to rock a nice deep plum.
While there are virtual makeup testers online, wherein you upload a photo of your face and then you choose different products to virtually try on, most if not all of them, are very clearly just overlaying pre-rendered, 2D makeup palettes onto your 3D face. To be frank, the results you get from these online testers look downright comical. But with smart mirror technology, the gap between traditional sampling — wherein you cover your arms in different shades of foundation, eye shadow, and lipstick, trying to find that one mystical shade — and clunky Barbie makeover tools has been bridged.
Walk into a Sephora or a MAC in the next five years, and odds are you’ll be able to find the perfect shade of red for your skin tone without having to pick up a single tube of lipstick. ModiFace, a 3D augmented reality experience that first debuted at CES 2014, is starting to show up in high-end makeup stores. According to Retail Dive, “The Sephora interface tracks the precise location of a user’s facial features and applies eye shadow colors directly on the video feed from a camera. Sephora customers have access to sampling numerous cosmetic colors instantaneously and virtually simply by tapping on a shade palette on the Beauty Mirror screen.”
Be extremely online.
The thing about modern life is: we’re always online. 2019 is a constant stream of tweets, Facebook posts, Instagram photos. Endless scrolling, answering emails on tiny little screens, Redditing while taking some me-time in the bathroom.
Create a central hub for your home.
Paper calendars are so 2000-and-late. Thanks to smart home technology like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, combined with smart mirror technology, your central hub can be all digital and even hands-free. Imagine, if you will, you’re in the kitchen, making cookies the old-fashioned way (with your hands), and suddenly, you have a dreadful feeling that you’re about to miss something important. You yell to your mirror, which is situated tastefully above a sideboard in the living room, “Hey Google, show me today’s calendar.” And it pulls up every task, meeting, and appointment you have scheduled. You can walk over to the mirror, hands still covered in cookie dough, and check out what’s on the docket.
You can also customize your smart mirror to display the weather, to-do lists, alarms, and more. Plus, you can sync with any IoT item in your home, which means that you can connect your alarm system or even your smart door locks to your mirror. So if you’re standing in front of the mirror at night, and you get a spooky feeling but you’re too scared to go out and check that the door is locked, you can have your mirror do it for you.
Smart mirrors aren’t all practical, however, and we mean that in a good way. In the future, you’ll also use your mirror to goof around. A lot of smart mirrors have added Snapchat-esque filters so you can really goof off in selfie mode or use your mirror as a photobooth, something which you should definitely do when you throw parties.
The future — as always — is sure to be a reflection of us.