MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL

Maybe more of us should go back to reading fairy tales to gain inspiration for our next digital invention. Too bad the Brothers Grimm didn’t live in the 21st Century. If they did, maybe the Evil Queen from the fairy tale ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ would’ve used the Magic Mirror to fix her pores while listening to her favorite music!

We’re living in the age of the Smart Mirror, a mirror that can speak to you through an integrated smart assistant and play your favorite playlist while analysing your skin simultaneously. I thought this was something that we’d see in our homes in the distant future but it’s here!

The first one I heard about was by a South Korean tech startup named Icon.ai. They won the Innovation Award at the CES 2020 for their original version of the smart mirror called Venus. They officially launched the evolved version, Zmirror, last year. This mirror performs like a specialized smart display and includes an Alexa-powered Harman Kardon smart speaker in the base and a skincare analysis and suggestion app. The Zmirror’s 7-inch touchscreen within the 9-inch mirror is surrounded by an LED ring light that can change lighting to test your look in different settings. It can be rotated and turned into a lamp. All settings can be controlled by voice through the smart speaker integrated with Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant in the base. It can be integrated with Spotify and YouTube as well, and the resulting music wafts through their high-end Harman Kardon speakers – elevating the user experience.

Last week I shared the concept of Digital Skincare Analysis through my presentation in class. This smart mirror comes with its own special skin health analysis ability as well. The camera within the mirror takes a photo of your face and uses a database of more than 10,000 photos to analyze skin health, measured against people with similar skin tones.  The resulting “skin score” can then be tracked with daily photos. New features to be added in May 2021 include product and treatment recommendations.

As we know, the usage and adoption of AI in Beauty aka Smart Beauty is on the rise, particularly during the pandemic when consumers have not been able to physically visit stores or skincare professionals. Naturally, Icon.ai isn’t alone in exploring the potential of combining smart displays with makeup and beauty services.

A year prior to the launch of Venus at CES, HiMirror debuted its own version of a smart mirror that could assess skin health and leverage Alexa. The HiMirror Mini allows you to analyze and track the effectiveness of skincare products, stream music, browse social media, and much more. It offers 64GB storage space and retails at $349, while some other versions retail as low at $119. Users have also loved their Beauty Box app, which allows them to scan the barcode of their skincare products and integrate them into routines and regimens. This way they could track skin results and see which products have been helping their skin the most. 

HiMirror also allowed users to use YouTube, in its own optimized version called HiTube, to directly watch videos on their screen. Since beauty videos are one of the largest video categories on YouTube, HiMirror was marketed to beauty enthusiasts by saying “if you’re watching a make up tutorial you’re trying to attempt yourself, you just open up your slide & you can see the video & mirror at the same time while you create your look! We are not just a smart mirror, but the best beauty consultant the world has seen, in the comfort of your own home.” And with Alexa built into HiMirror, you can reorder moisturizer, set a timer, and even call an Uber by simply asking. Talk about marketing! 

Adding smart features to a regular mirror has always been an exciting prospect. Some of my research led me to a whole new world where people have been creating DIY Smart Mirrors at home! A simple Google search showed me that people have been creating their own versions of smart mirrors, with a potential to integrate with Google Duo, scan their Twitter feed, check their daily calendars or even just be a mood enhancer – for years! The magic is created by placing a transparent mirror over a screen such as a tablet, monitor, or TV. The technology is driven by a Raspberry Pi or Windows PC, combined with voice recognition and touch technology. If you don’t want to buy one, here’s another step-by-step guide to make yours at home.

Smart mirrors in high-end boutiques and people’s homes could just be the start. I’m excited to see an increase in adoption of smart mirrors in the near future. I think it can have mass appeal, not just for beauty and skincare enthusiasts but also for people who love using smart devices in their lives. The fact that everything can be integrated through the same technology could mean a more seamless experience for us as consumers. To me, the most fascinating thing about these inventions is the integration of voice command features via a smart assistant. I feel that heightens the overall digital experience of using a truly smart device. And it makes you realize how imaginative the Brothers Grimm really were!

Sources:

https://www.housebeautiful.com/shopping/home-gadgets/a30613631/smart-mirror-spotify-alexa-amazon-youtube/

https://www.himirror.com/en-US/eshop/product/HiMirrorMini64G

6 comments

  1. williammooremba · ·

    Great blog post. One thing that struck out to me is if smart mirrors like this became a part of people’s daily routines there might be additional applications. For instance, if a person goes in front of the mirror on a regular basis could there be medical checks that occur. The smart mirror could not only tell you about beauty tips but if there is something you should check in with a doctor about. I think this could be particularly useful for detecting skin conditions that would be less obvious to an average user. Taken a step further you could even use voice commands to connect with a telehealth professional and get a quick check in without leaving your morning routine. Very cool technology and should be interesting to see how the space develops.

  2. Chuyong Liu · ·

    I was waiting for this mirror blog post! Other than this mirror that could help analyze skin condition, I have known another popular mirror that can show exercise moves and be a mirror coach for home training. When combining these two different technologies together, I can already imagine my home mirror yelling to me that I should get off of my bed and start doing my morning exercise, and help me analyze my body fat and skin condition while I change my pajamas. William mentioning the medical check is also a great way of using it.

    1. Divya Jha · ·

      Chuyong, how uncanny! I literally just tweeted about a smart mirror that doubles into a virtual workout environment. I agree, and I think seamlessly using the smart mirror to start your day – watch news, see your to-do-list, learn food recipes, working out, tracking the metrics around your skin condition and, as Will mentioned. checking for medical concerns – to finally ending your day with music of your choice with mood lighting.. I foresee such magical experiences for consumers!

  3. alexcarey94 · ·

    This is a very interesting post! I think this would be very awesome to have in your house.. with the helpful tips but as well as you noted the other features like being able to look at twitter while getting ready could be the multi tasking of the future! BUT with all this technology revolved around your skin I hope one day (similar to smart house) mirrors can help people match clothes or provide style advice. I think this would be something that would be super cool and innovative (and potentially even link up with an Alexa or IOT device) to be able to order you clothes based on recommendations. Would be a cool type of advertising for brands as well…

    All I can say is a girl can dream!

  4. changliu0601 · ·

    Great Post! I wish one day the mirror shows that my skin is perfect and it has no skincare recommendation to me at all. And if the AI could applied to the anti-aging .I would absolutely pay for it!

  5. lourdessanfeliu · ·

    This is a great post and follow up to your presentation! I would love to have one in my house to get all the metrics and tips to improve my skincare routine and to watch tutorials from the mirror! I can see a great potential for this technology and applied to other tasks.

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