Equipped with a camera, speakers, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, the mirror runs on a 2GHz quad-core processor. It essentially takes the home screen of your phone and puts it on your wall. You can add apps and widgets that let you receive texts, check the weather, see your commute, view your calendar, and read the news. The mirror can stream a video of a makeup tutorial as you practice putting on eyeliner, then you can snap a hands-free selfie with the HD camera.
To help customize the mirror, you use specialized voice commands to differentiate your mirror’s settings from your family members’. That way, your commute shows up, not your spouse’s.
When you’re not streaming a video or checking an app, the mirror turns opaque so you can get an unobstructed view of yourself. The creators say they’ve found an anti-fogging glass and have made the mirror water-resistant — though not waterproof. You’ll have to think about where you want to place it, because you will need to plug this mirror into an outlet.
The smart mirror is a long-promised concept that companies like Panasonic have made prototypes for but not full-fledged products. If these three Wharton Business School friends behind Perseus Mirrors have figured out how to make it work, then they’ve also managed to make it relatively affordable, provided you get in on the Kickstarter. An early bird donation gets you the Perseus for $209 (the mirror will eventually retail for $449). Once the early bird options are gone, you can still get one for $249 through the Kickstarter campaign.
In the coming months, the Perseus team hopes to open its code to third-party developers to give the mirror more capabilities. Still under development is a QR-code reader that will let you reorder items in an Amazon Dash-like fashion. Another potential feature is one that lets you shop for jewelry by letting you virtually try on necklaces and earrings from different stores.
As with an Kickstarter, it’s backer beware. If all goes according to Perseus’s plans, you should be gazing into your magical mirror by April 2017.
Update 7/30/2016: As one Facebook commenter pointed out, a camera in your bathroom could be a privacy concern. Erik Skantze, CEO of Perseus, left the following response in the comments: “that’s why we have put a lot of thought into the security of the camera, both from a programattical standpoint and from a design standpoint. The camera has clearly visible light that displays whenever it is on, and that remains off whenever not in use. We also have a small cover that you can slide over the camera (similar the design on certain flip phones) which will disable any camera usage. We have also programmed our OS using the latest security standards from reputable firms (i.e. we didn’t just hack together the security ourselves).”