Coventry students hope for reflected glory

The IT students are looking to change the way consumers receive information by creating a smart mirror to immerse them in a digital world

Karl Brown and Callum Silva, IT students at CU Coventry, have designed and built a smart mirror as part of their final year project on the BSc Digital and Technology Solutions course.

The mirror can display everything from the time and the weather to social media sites, videos and newsfeeds, all the while remaining reflective.

Although a limited number of similar products are available, Karl and Callum have tailored their mirror design for hairdressers and barbershops so that customers can link it to their smart devices and browse the internet or access apps while having their hair cut.

It also features a motion sensor which includes a time and date stamp to allow businesses to track how often the device is used.

The students are now looking to develop the idea further to target retail stores, using facial recognition technology in conjunction with the motion sensors to trigger digital advertising tailored to the individual.

Callum said: “We were given a project where we had to develop something using a certain algorithm program, which is when we came up with the idea of the smart mirror.

“We took an old computer monitor and used this to develop our prototype. We came across a number of challenges along the way, particularly when trying to get the motion sensor to work, but we’re really pleased with our end product.

“It’s designed to be controlled using portable smart devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, meaning that it can be used by businesses who can, in turn, enable consumers to access the mirror.

“This means that someone could be watching a video or updating their status on social media while having a short back and sides.”

Karl added: “There are so many possibilities with the mirror, and now we have a base concept we are looking at developing our prototype into something that could be commercialised.

“One of the things we want to explore is facial recognition software, which would make the product suitable for the retail industry. The mirror could be based in shops, such as clothes stores, and would be able to identify a person’s gender and deliver tailored advertising to suit the individual.”

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