Mar 21, 2017 | By Julia

A group of University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) students and alumni have created the world’s first tablet-powered smart mirror. The Firefly Smart Mirror, chiefly comprised of a 3D printed backing which fits an Android or iOS tablet, comes equipped with voice and gesture control, facial recognition, push notifications, and tons of apps. Currently in its crowdfunding stage on Kickstarter, Firefly still has a while to go before it ships out at $150, but that’s not stopping its creators from hyping their new brainchild.

“We were particularly interested in Smart Home applications, and I began playing around with a smart mirror after seeing a do-it-yourself version on the Internet,” says Noah Martin, a graduate of UC San Diego’s Computer Science and Engineering school. Although the DIY version involved placing mirror glass over a PC screen, Martin began to think outside the box and began experimenting with an iPad mini.

Joined by business partner Josh Cohenzadeh and students Alvin Ho and Alistair Twombly, Martin began pursuing the project with no holds barred. According to the team, the goal was to create hardware without the trouble of building new circuits. 3D printing quickly presented itself as an effective solution, say the Firefly team members, who ultimately decided to hand build all the 3D printers for prototyping – a feat in and of itself.

Keeping with their drive for high functionality, the Firefly creators promise an array of impressive features on their new gadget. Amazon Alexa-powered voice recognition means a clean screen without fingerprints, as well as possibilities for interacting at a distance.

Alternatively, the Firefly software also deploys computer vision technology for facial recognition. Simply standing in front of the mirror will wake it up, without having to say “Firefly.”

Computer vision also comes in handy for swipe detection. “We currently use it only to page through news articles by swiping your arm in front of the mirror,” says Martin, “ [but] we will include the swipes for news in the version this summer, and we’d like to add more gestures in future updates.”

A special finish on the glass ensures that the mirror won’t get foggy either. “Even in a bathroom with a hot shower running, we found that because of the heat generated by the tablet behind the mirror and the airflow through the backing, the part of the mirror in front of the tablet will not become foggy like it would normally with condensation,” Martin explains.

The Firefly Smart Mirror will come with a free companion app, to which premium features can be added via a monthly subscription. Backers of the campaign, on the other hand, have the added bonus of a free lifetime subscription for all premium features.

With just under $8,000 USD currently raised of the $35,000 goal, the Firefly team has their work cut out for them. But with 17 days still left in the campaign, there’s a decent chance we may see the Firefly Smart Mirror shipped out by its expected date in August 2017.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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