AlexaDev Tuesday – An Alexa Smart Mirror: Darian Johnson’s Award Winner

Publication Date: 11/21/16 – You can create your own version of Darian Johnson’s $100 Alexa smart mirror using a Raspberry Pi, a two-way mirror, an inexpensive or repurposed computer monitor, a few related accessory items, and Darian’s publicly-available Mystic Mirror skill.


Amazing Mirror


From the Amazon Developer blog, where Zoey Collier did the write-up:

Magic mirror, on the wall—who is the fairest one of all?

Probably the most memorable line from Disney’s 1937 classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, it may soon become a household phrase again. Modern-day magic mirrors are taking a number of forms, from toys to high tech devices offering useful information to their masters. Now, Darian Johnson has taken that concept an enormous step farther.

Darian, a technology architect with Accenture, has worked in software solution design for 17 years. Today he helps clients move their on-premise IT infrastructure into the cloud. With a recent focus solely on Amazon Web Services (AWS), it’s only natural other Amazon technologies like Alexa would pique his interest.

One night, Darian was pondering what he might build for Hackster’s 2016 Internet of Voice Challenge. He was surfing the web, when he happened on an early concept of a Magic Mirror and realized he could do even better than that. He did. In August 2016, Darian’s new Mystic Mirror won a prize in the Best Alexa Voice Service with Raspberry Pi category.


Mystic Mirror
Image credit: Darian Johnson


A smarter mirror with the Alexa Voice Service
Darian says his morning routine consists of running between bedroom and bathroom, trying to get ready for work. He doesn’t have an Amazon Echo in either, but he does, however, have mirrors there. That’s another reason why an Alexa Voice Service (AVS)-enabled mirror made sense.

He set his budget at a mere $100. That covered a Raspberry Pi (RPi), a two-way mirror, a refurbished monitor and speaker, some wood planks and a few other assorted items. He determined that his device would:

– Give the mirror-gazer access to all the skills available through Alexa

– Provide unique visual capabilities in the mirror face via a custom Alexa skill

– Display information only for a finite amount of time before it fades away (to make it mystical—and because Darian is light-sensitive when he sleeps)


Click here to read the full Amazon Developer Blog post, which goes into further details on the coding and provides a link to instructions for building the Raspberry Pi -enabled mirror.