Lots of TV shows will have crossovers where characters from one show visit a different show. Since I have two websites, I figured I might as well use them. I recently made a smart mirror, and here’s how I did it. This article will be about the physical setup. The article on my main site, chrisasbury.com, will be about the software. Oh. And like 99% of the credit goes to Joel Hawksley, and the people at http://smart-mirror.io/ .
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Raspberry Pi. I went with the 3 B, because it is the most recent. $35. Keep in mind, you’ll also need an SD Card and a power cord. And a case, if you like. All told, this was about $50.
- A monitor. I got the HP 24UH because the instructions said it fit the cabinet perfectly. $130
- A medicine cabinet. I got this one, because it was black. $40
- A two way mirror. Turns out there’s a place a few blocks away from me that sells these. I think I paid $65 for it.
- A microphone. I had an old mic that came with a webcam back in the day. $0.
- Two bungee cords. I got these at Home Depot while I was there, but they were still under $5.
- 4 eye screws. I don’t remember what size I got, but be sure they are strong enough to hold the rubber straps, but not so long that they poke through the medicine cabinet door.
- Locking mechanism. The medicine cabinet comes with a normal magnet, but the monitor is just a little too big. I used a simple latch.
- You also need a small 1X2 piece of wood that is roughly 13 inches long, some electrical tape, and a power cord that has two outlets on one end. I had these already, so I’d say less than $10.
- Total: $300
The setup is pretty easy. The hardest part is getting the mirror out of the door so you can replace it with the two way mirror. The trick is to sort of dig the staples out. (Take the door off first) They are about half an inch long and zigzagged. They are a pain in the ass and they suck. Also, try to keep them, so you can use them to put it all back together. Anyway, use a small flathead screw driver and a mallet near the staples to dig the wood out. I also used a razor blade. When you have enough wood dug out (all around the stupid staples), use some needle nose pliers and pull like you’re King Arthur. Pull straight out. You only need to do this four fucking times. Once they are done, pull the mirror out, slide the two way mirror in, put the wood back, glue, and put the staples back. Then take a break. You’ve earned it. You can kind of see the staple cavity here.
Pry off the front lip of the monitor. There’s just one screw, and the rest snaps into place. Once that’s off, you can throw the lip away. Or keep it if you ever want to reuse the monitor. Cover the area formally covered by the lip with the electrical tape. Take off the monitor stand if you haven’t already. You don’t need that either.
Take the piece of wood, cover one side with electrical tape. This will be a sort of shelf on which the monitor will sit. The electrical tape makes sure the two way mirror works in that area. You want this to fit inside the cabinet, but screw it to the door, with the electrical tape side facing the mirror. Now lay the monitor face down on the mirror as shown in the last picture. Screw in the eye hooks in the four corners, but be careful that there is enough room to close the cabinet. I made this mistake, and had to move everything. Two of the hooks can go in the wood strip.
Also, drill a few vent holes in the top of the cabinet.
My microphone came in a little plastic thing that clipped onto your shirt. I broke it out of that and found it was just a small hearing aid battery shaped thing with wires. So I drilled a hole for that in the top of the door.
Now put everything together. Monitor first, plug in the Pi, do some cable management, put on the rubber straps, and screw the door back onto the cabinet. Does it close? Yay.
For security, I also put two of these latches on it to keep it closed.
I would have liked to made a hole in the back of the cabinet for the power cable, but I didn’t have a bit that large, so for now, the cable is poking out through the gap between the door and the cabinet.
All in all, it took roughly a few hours to get it all setup and installed.
For the software side, check out chrisasbury.com.