Smart Mirror

My main project is the Raspberry Pi Smart Mirror. It uses a Raspberry Pi 3 as a computer for a monitor wedged into the frame. The monitor displays things like weather and time. There is a layer of plexiglass covering it, so it is still reflective like a mirror, but also has a display from the monitor. There is a wood frame that covers the sides to make it look more like a mirror and to hold everything in place.

Engineer

Rohit T.

Area of Interest

Robotics prosthetics/augmentation

Convenient technology

School

Harker High School

Grade

Rising Sophmore

Reflection

Final Milestone

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For my final milestone, I finished my adding an Amazon Alexa module as my potential modification. I spent a lot of time on this one, mainly because of the problems. There weren’t actually that many issues with getting Alexa to work in the first place, but after coming back after the weekend, I realized that both my microSD card and my Raspberry Pi 3 were broken. As such, I pretty much lost all the progress that I had made with coding up until now. So, I had to start over completely. I was able to get it working in time for demo night, but because of the setback, I was unable to finish Amazon Alexa in time to show it off at Demo Night. This experience taught me that I should always back up my code, and that I should be more careful with SD and microSD cards in the future.

Second Milestone

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For my second milestone, I finished making the frame of the mirror, cutting up the acrylic sheet mirror and putting the monitor inside. I ran into a lot of problems when trying to finish the milestone. When I was working on the frame, I realized that the wood pieces aren’t exactly measured, but I only realized when I put together the frame, so I couldn’t correct it. I still have a few gaps between wood pieces because of this. This is partially due to my changes to the directions the video gave me. For example, the video I was using as a template cut the wood into corner pieces, but I thought that it was too much trouble to cut them like that. To add on, when I was cutting the acrylic sheet, I ended up getting a lot of cracks, despite using a technique that is supposed to negate them. So, I had to keep tape on so the cracks wouldn’t propagate. The mirror itself doesn’t perfectly fit the frame, because the frame doesn’t overlap the mirror’s edges vertically, so the tape also isn’t completely covered. However, I did use black tape, which camouflages with the black background of the monitor. The monitor itself is secured by being sandwiched between the frame and a few pieces of scrap wood that are connected to the back of the frame. The acrylic sheet is also secured the same way. My third milestone will be me cleaning up the frame and mirror and adding my potential modifications, like a weather module, or wood stain.

First Milestone

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My first milestone was to get the display of my Smart Mirror working completely. I used Linux to code it by connecting my Raspberry Pi 3 to a monitor. A Raspberry Pi is a microprocessor or a small computer. I used it instead of an Arduino because an Arduino is a microcontroller and not powerful enough. The display currently has the time, date, upcoming holidays, news, and a message. I am planning to add more modules so the mirror can do more things like using Alexa and edit the orientation of the display later. I had many challenges in finishing this milestone. First, I tried to use a different repository of code to program my smart mirror, but it didn’t work at first. So, I spent a few days getting the code working so the display would show up. However, when I got the display working, the weather wouldn’t show up. I spent a few more days trying to get the weather to work, but I couldn’t. I switched to a new, better repository. But the new repository also wasn’t working right at first, so I used up time trying to figure out what was wrong. To add on, during the entirety of my first milestone, I also had to learn how to code with Linux. My next milestone is to construct the wood frame to house the Raspberry Pi 3 and the monitor.

Starter Project

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My starter project is the Big Time Watch Kit. It is powered by a coin cell battery which is housed inside a soldered on coin cell battery holder. It has a crystal oscillator which allows the watch to tell the time. It is filled with quartz and vibrates the quartz inside of it. The frequency of the vibrations are measured and can be used to tell time by adding them up. There are also two capacitors and one resistor which are used to reduce the net voltage of the system. The capacitors store electrical energy while the resistor disperses it into the air. There is a 4-digit display which shows the time. There is a button which is used to turn on the watch and to change the time if you hold it for a few seconds. The “shell” is made of several different plastic plates that are overlapped on the MintyBoost. They are screwed together and a watch strap runs through the bottom layer. The most challenging part of this was putting in the crystal oscillator, because I didn’t originally give enough space for it to be bent flat against the circuit board, so I had to take it off and basically redo the entire process. But, the part I liked the most of this project was the overall soldering, because it was fun to relearn how to do it.

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