Introducing MiMi – The Magic Mirror

June 6, 2014 · 2 Comments

"Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the Fairest one of all?"

“Magic Mirror on the Wall, who is the Fairest one of all?”

As hardware become cheaper and more powerful, everyday objects are starting to get smarter. Air conditioners, lights, scales, even your dog is now connected to the cloud. In a Star Trek future the objects in your life will know who you are and react to your intentions. At StartupGiraffe we’re really interested in the rise of smart devices. We wanted to dig deeper into building software for custom hardware by building a prototype. We went through a discovery/brainstorming process on what are all the objects in your house, and what could we make smarter with software (specifically embedded android). While we had a bunch of goodish ideas (a smart stove, chair, shoes), we ultimately settled on an Android Mirror:

Why Mirrors?

People spend on average around 50 minutes in front of the mirror a day.  While technology has permeated the rest of our lives, the bathroom mirror has remained largely unchanged.  But what if there was a device that could passively improve your health and make you feel better?  We came up with a list of ways a smart mirror could help.

The Use Cases

We wanted to focus our attention on bathroom mirrors since the use cases were more targeted.  The activities revolve around health and beauty.  The following is a list of ideas we came up with for applications.

– Reminders of things to do every day (take your medicine, brush your teeth, floss)
– Information about medicines and dosages you should be taking
– Take photos of you every day and identify changes over time (your skin pallor is changing, you might want to check out that new mole)
– Make it more fun to get ready (did you know you should brush your teeth for 3 min everyday, here’s a short video to entertain you during that time)
– Gamify healthy habits for kids

– Try on virtual makeup and accessories
– Tutorials on new hairstyle
– Get ready with your friends (video chat)
– Tell you how great you are


The possibilities are endless.

The Hardware

The components include:
– A 24″ Asus monitor
– A one way mirror (aka interrogation room glass) –
– A wandboard with wifi, camera and mike
– A custom wooden frame
– Duct tape and inspiration

The Software

Ultimately we envision this as an open platform that other people can write apps for. We made some basic modifications to the stock Android OS (removing the soft buttons and rotating the angle to portrait mode). We also wrote an Android demo app.

The Demo

We were invited to participate in NYC Resistor‘s interactive show. We wanted to build something that was easy, looked good, and demonstrated internet connectivity and interactivity. We enlisted the help of Mark Forscher (who did an awesome job brainstorming with us and doing a quick design session – you should hire him).

The app is a photobooth that shows you a gif (via the giphy API) and asks you replicate it. The output is posted side-by-side to Tumblr.



Next Steps

We’re talking to a few people about other specific use cases (retail, hotels, advertising) to see if their is interest in further developing the product. If anyone would like to talk more about what what MiMi (or embedded Android) can do for you, get in touch.

  • Mohsin Shahid Faquih

    We’ve only looked at this concept in movies. It was high time that somebody made it happen. Sweet work by the Start Up Giraffe team!

  • Mohsin Shahid Faquih

    and if you guys can come up with a user ready product, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of backers on kick starter.