Unless you’re the type to conduct business while conducting ... business, the bathroom is probably the one remaining sanctuary where you’re not flooded with data, in the form of communications, headlines and advertisements. Well, the New York Times considers this an opportunity, rather than an oasis of sanity. Meet the “magic mirror.”
The New York Times Co., parent company of the Gray Lady, About.com and other publications, has its own research and development lab aimed at devising new ways to share media with readers. This latest invention takes that a step further, connecting you to much more than just the news. Through the looking glass, you could read the headlines while brushing your teeth or fixing your hair; refill a prescription or learn about your medicine by scanning an RFID tag on the bottle; and exchange messages with coworkers or other members of your household. It actually reminds us a little of this winner of our 2011 Invention Awards, though much more in-depth and consumer-focused.
The mirror uses Microsoft’s Kinect motion sensor to read physical signals from the person standing in front of it, according to a demo of the device over at Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. The Times Co. has two versions, one of which would offer prescription information and coupons, and another with an online retail experience that lets you try things on, and suggests new outfits, based on what you wear in front of it. Click through to the Nieman Lab for demo videos with Brian House, The Times Co.’s creative technologist.
This type of technology could conceivably work with facial-recognition software, too, which brings up a whole new suite of possibilities — maybe automatic bathroom lighting adjustments depending on the user’s preferences, perhaps a scent dispenser that freshens up the room, and so on. As of yet, there's no word on when this mirror might be hanging on bathroom walls, however.