When German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process in 1835 for applying a thin layer of metallic silver to one side of a pane of clear glass, he created what we today know as the modern-day mirror. Ground-breaking for his time his method finally allowed for the mass production of what would soon become a staple household item. Fast forward almost 200 years, what would he think of a future where mirrors offered opinions about our face, the clothes we choose to wear or analyzed our health as we look in the mirror each morning?
Judging by the latest technology trends making their way not only to tech shows around the world but more impressively to a showroom nearby, we are witnessing the rise of the Smart Mirror revolution. The truly futuristic ones that aim to include facial recognition, skin analysis, and biometric assessments may still be in the concept phase, but if you are looking to upgrade or build a new bathroom here are some options you may want to throw into the mix:
The here and now
Mirrors that integrate in-frame LED lighting, with On/Off touch sensor control and the all-important defogger to reduce that annoying post-shower condensation. The lower entry point for smart mirrors is those that integrate in-frame LED lighting, with On/Off touch sensor controls and the all-important defogger to reduce that annoying post-shower condensation. For example the range of Kado Aspect Mirrors, available in round or rectangular form.
The little pleasures
Or perhaps you would like to step it up and be able to voice control of the LED lighting in your mirror? There are products available that allow you to program different settings allowing for personalized lighting i.e. makeup application vs shaving settings, via simple touch control. One of these is the Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror which integrates Amazon Alexa. This allows you little pleasures, such as listening to the weather report or news while getting ready in the morning. With built-in voice control, you are even able to add that shampoo the kids have just used up to the shopping list without leaving the bathroom! Two other features make this product attractive: A motion-detecting night light to guide you through the bathroom in the dark and sensors beneath the mirror also raise light levels when someone stands in front of it.
The bells & whistles
Closer to the home you may be tempted by the Embrace Smart Mirror, which when “switched on” transforms from a normal 800 x 600 mirror to a full high definition Android tablet. Featuring high-quality glass just 27mm thick this mirror is splash-proof, moisture resistant, and certified for use in Australian bathrooms. It offers voice, touch, and gesture control, has an inbuilt motion sensor to “wake up” when you walk in front of it, includes a camera (to be used with caution in the bathroom) and is compatible with thousands of Apps. Think YouTube, Skype, Facebook, Gmail, Uber Eats, Dominos etc literally at your fingertips or by simple voice control. This “mirror” boasts speakers, a microphone, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing you to potentially control all your smart home devices from the one hub. 2017 prototypes of this model have sold out, with production currently underway of a high spec series. Keep your eyes on this one!
With these amazing new functionalities becoming a more common option, remember that when choosing a bathroom mirror you will still need to take the time to consider the traditional aspects involved in creating the perfect bathroom experience for you and your family. Here we are talking basics, like the size, shape, style and functionality of your bathroom.
If however, you like the idea of adding some of these tech developments into the mix, then don’t forget to also consider, plan for, and seek professional advice on:
1. Any special electrical and wiring requirements (battery-powered vs hard wired).
2. The weight and any particular mounting specifications.
3. Interconnectivity with any home sound system.
4. Overall network integration.
5. Ongoing maintenance instructions.
Gone are the days where you can simply duck down to Bunnings, buy a few screws and hang your bathroom mirror. But then again, it seems so are the days of simply looking in the mirror and telling yourself you really don’t look that bad!
Remember, planning and having the right information on hand before you get started, is key to successfully renovating your bathroom and home. That is why we have created our range of Build in Common Toolkits – designed as go-to-guides to take the guesswork out of the build cycle and your conversations with your builder and trades, putting you firmly back in control of your project, home and budget.
Written by Pia Turcinov, Co-Founder and a Director of Build in Common. Coming from a family where building and renovating were part of everyday life, she got an early taste of the many different skills and trades it takes to create a dream home. One thing that always rang true was that the best ideas are worth nothing without good execution. Not to say the challenge of being able to communicate a great idea to others! Taking the steps to make it all happen can be tiring, challenging, but also oh so satisfying!