Mesmeric mirror

Mesmeric mirror

On reflection, he could have just bought a lamp. But after Roberto Tyley stood on one too many of his children’s toys in the dark corners of his bedroom, and decided it was time for some additional light, he was hit by a flash of inspiration. Mesmeric mirror is one of the entries in our Top 75 Projects community vote! What better way of illuminating the room, he mused, than a full-length portrait mirror that would shine brightly whenever anyone wandered by? One with individually controllable LED lighting that would directly respond whenever someone posed in front of it, perhaps? As light-bulb moments go, he admits it was certainly high on the wacky scale. But Roberto saw the potential for both practicality and fun. “The idea was to have a mirror that would know if my children were waving their hands around,” he explains. “I wanted the lights to move and sparkle around their fingers as they did so.” Pi-powered Roberto’s first decision was to put a Raspberry Pi at the heart of the build. He had only ever used the computer once before, to create a video demonstrating the speed of a tool he’d written to clean Git repositories. He liked the fact that the Pi was a fully specced Linux platform. “It meant I could use the tools and languages I was familiar with,” he says. His next step was to research the best lighting, and he eventually chose Adafruit’s DotStar Warm White LED strips. “They are more expensive than simple strips, but they use a pretty straightforward wiring system,” Roberto explains. “Adafruit also supplies a nice Python library to control the strip from the Pi.” The sensor is visible up close Motion sensing From there, he looked for a way of detecting the presence of a person, before hitting on the idea of a laser rangefinder. “It occurred to me that if I had a laser rangefinder pointing straight down from the top to the bottom of the mirror, in the same axis as the LEDs, it could sense how high up anything was,” he continues. This would allow the LEDs to light up to the height of a person, or work out if they were stretching their arm up, and illuminate further. “I decided to use the LIDAR-Lite rangefinder, which is a pretty cool but pricey sensor that encodes digital fingerprints into the bursts of laser…
Source: Mesmeric mirror

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