A lot of people use their smart phones in the bathroom. In fact, the numbers suggest there is a 40% chance that you have personal experience with that. Researchers at New York Times Research & Development Lab are okay with that and actually seek to embrace it, bringing connectivity to the bathroom without increasing the risk that you’ll drop your smart phone in the toilet.
Their “magic mirror” combines a mirror TV and Microsoft Kinect in order to turn one of the walls of your bathroom into a screen you can use to brush your teeth and check your Facebook. The Kinect picks up where you are, allowing the TV to display things in creative ways. For example, it can project a tie so that it looks like your wearing it from your point of view, wherever you happen to be standing.
Of course, the Internet mirror hopes to do things a little less trivial than make you feel like you’re wearing a tie. Among the most impressive things it can do at the moment (besides saving you time) is interacting with medicines via an RFID chip. This could presumably be used to help you figure out how many pills to take or what the dangerous interactions are without even having to squint at the box.
As cool as this mirror is, there’s no denying that the functionality it provides is trivial at best. I mean, how long are you actually in the bathroom, and more over, how often are you in the bathroom in a position where you are facing the mirror? There’s also the fact that this involves placing a camera in your bathroom, a prospect I’m sure more than a couple of people would be uncomfortable with. That being said, these things could be pretty cool if they became ubiquitous in the future. Sure, I wouldn’t actually pay for one and I’d do one heck of a spyware check on one I didn’t install with my own two hands, but beyond that, I’d definitely use one of these.