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Magic Mirror - Part 1: Idea, concept and functions

MagicMirror Visual Studio Overview Preview

In the first article for my "Magic Mirror" project, I give you an insight into my thoughts on the idea and desired functions. It's a project that will probably be with me for the next few months - if not years.


Innovations fascinate me. They always have. I read technology magazines every day, attend seminars to educate myself further and impart my knowledge in workshops. I am interested in new things - preferably paired with perfectionist design and new functionalities. At an open day or open door of the University of Applied Sciences of Economics (FHDW) It was in Bergisch Gladbach - where I studied - that I first came across the idea of a Magic Mirror. And since then, I've never let go of the idea of designing and building such a masterpiece of technology myself.

In the category Magic Mirror I will always keep you up to date. I will write new articles, update information and answer your questions. You can simply write a comment. However, due to my demands and various side activities, the project will certainly take some time.


Spy mirror

In principle, a Magic Mirror is nothing more than a spy mirror with a monitor clamped behind it. You probably know a spy mirror from the crime scene or other crime thrillers: if you hold the mirror in front of you and it is dark behind the mirror, you are reflected. In the case of a light background, the mirror lets the light through, so that only a slight darkening of the image occurs. This feature makes it possible to see yourself (black background) and information (white or light-colored text) in the mirror at the same time. The Magic Mirror can display information such as the weather, the current traffic situation or calendar entries. It can serve as a First port of call in the morningto get an overview of the day ahead.

Rusticity & technology

My Magic Mirror should not only have many functions, but also look good first and foremost. The frame that surrounds the monitor and the mirror should therefore be made of cherry wood. The Combining rustic wood with the latest technology is a first step towards a real Designer piece - my Magic Mirror.


The Magic Mirror is primarily intended as a Source of information serve. Initially, I would like to limit myself to the essentials and realize or implement basic functions. A later expansion stage could include various interactions, such as facial recognition. Automatic switching on and off when you stand in front of the Magic Mirror is also on the to-do list.

The following Basic functions is what the Magic Mirror is supposed to be able to do:

  • current weather
  • current e-mails (Outlook.com)
  • current dates (Outlook.com)
  • Tasks (Outlook.com / Microsoft To-Do)
  • Headlines (News)
  • Current room temperature and humidity

My next articles will initially focus on the Basic framework the monitor, the frame and the combination of hardware:

The later articles deal with the installation of the software and the Weighing up in-house development versus the use of ready-made software:

Magic Mirror as a UWP app

With this section (the last for this article), I am looking forward a little to this part of my series on the Magic Mirror, in which I initially concentrated on in-house development using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Later I then realizedthat this approach doesn't suit me and that I don't need to reinvent the wheel as there are already community projects.

The screenshots shown below are two screenshots of the version I have since discarded, but UWP app developed at that time for the Magic Mirror. I have also used these at two events (here and here) was presented.

MagicMirror Visual Studio Overview Preview
MagicMirror Visual Studio Overview

Questions & Answers

How does a Magic Mirror work?

A Magic Mirror consists of a spy mirror (reflective on one side) with a monitor mounted behind it. This allows you to see yourself in the mirror as well as information from the monitor.

What functions does a Magic Mirror have?

A Magic Mirror can be expanded in many ways as it is usually based on Raspbian. Basic functions include displaying the current weather, appointments and e-mails, headlines and the room temperature.

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