RPRnmag had the pleasure of conversing with Wojtek Kaszycki, the CEO of MirroCool, a startup launching a smart mirror that works with Facial Gestures Recognition technology. Here is our takeaway from the conversation.
The Bigger Picture
Smart Mirror Technologies are becoming a crucial element in information-delivery systems. According to a report by Technavio Research published in March 2017, these devices will serve a critical role in consumer/home, retail and healthcare industries. Currently valued around $440.25 million, the market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12.21% to reach USD 783.26 million by 2021. The automotive industry has been a heavy advocate of self-dimming mirrors, but the future seems to gravitate more towards senses, vision/camera displays, aggregation and tailoring useful information based on user customization.
The distinction between a mirror and a smart mirror may become obsolete as more smart devices adopt similar approaches; just another version of display monitors. Established names such as Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba are testing out smart mirror technology indicating its integration into large interactive computer screens. However, all is not rosy, these mirrors placed in enclosed areas or retail settings raise concerns on civil liberty and privacy, and their deployment is on the rise. Chetan Mohan, a lead analyst from Technavio, said in a press statement, “Smart mirrors combined with RFID and display technology can provide user-specific suggestions, thus helping to increase sales. More smart mirrors are likely to be installed in various places in the coming years.” Besides the Giants, there are many new entries in the field, and one such new player is MirroCool, an SF-based startup with an innovative offer. MirroCool’s exclusive Facial Gesture Recognition (FGR) technology and use of the cloud may well set new standards for future smart mirror devices. RPRNmag had a talk with Wojtek Kaszycki, the CEO of MirroCool and looked at the impact the company hopes to play in the industry.
A New Perspective
The modern mirror as we know was invented in 1835 by German chemist Justus von Liebig, who developed a method of applying a thin layer of metallic silver to one side of a pane of clear glass to give it today’s clarity. This item has now become a common necessity in our everyday lives as people collect them in abundance. However, like all things built to last, the mirror is evolving and adapting to the needs of its environment, and the increasing demand for efficiency that comes with modern life. Smart Glass technology enables mirrors to have additional features such as levels of smart coatings and integrated electronic abilities.
The idea for this smart mirror came out of Wojtek’s exasperation, while one morning, he was struggling to get ready for the day.
“I was holding my toothbrush in one hand and smartphone in the other,” said Wojtek Kaszycki,” and “trying to check my calendar, without dropping my phone. The solution was standing right in front of me: the mirror.”
MirroCool has developed a state-of-the-art smart technology that turns your household mirror into a virtual assistant, and a security system while you’re away. Despite other smart mirrors on the market, Wojtek told RPRN that “No one [other than their organization] has it done in such a comprehensive way, and we have heard and addressed the complaints about voice-activated devices.” By utilizing its proprietary Facial Gesture Recognition (FGR) software, MirroCool provides consistent support based on the preferences of its users. Their proprietary Facial Gesture Recognition technology disables the need for you to touch or speak to the device. Users can navigate the menu and screen icons by moving their eyes, and MirroCool’s intelligence will sense and respond accordingly. This functionality also allows selfies or group photos to be taken done with the blink of an eye.
“With the blink of an eye (literally), you can activate your display. That’s the beauty of FGR technology,” said Wojtek Kaszycki, MirroCool CEO.
Roughly around the size of a regular mirror (60x80cm), users can sync their smart devices and Wi-Fi Networks to build personalized functions in the form of to-do’s, agendas, email alerts, news and current events, social media management and more. A portion of the mirror can be used for traditional purposes while other apps are open on the screen. For instance, imagine looking in the mirror each morning while simultaneously streaming the local news channel and checking the day’s weather all from the same surface. You can always substitute MirroCool for your smartphone by making calls and checking text messages directly from its surface. Its slim modern design resembles the looks of an ordinary mirror serving as a home security system while away and can be viewed in real-time through your smart device. MirroCool’s sophisticated face gesture recognition captures the faces of everyone in your household so roommates can be easily added to memory and the built-in camera can always be disabled for user privacy.
These features can be managed with their intuitive app (for iOS and Android) while users can store and share their data with up to 5 GB of space via MirroCloud for $9.99/month. Registered users can access their stored data anywhere that the internet is readily available. MirroCool comes with a high-speed quad-core processor along with a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth adaptor. If that is not enough, it is also self-cleaning and self-healing. MirroCool’s surface is protected by nanotechnology making it more dirt resistant, and the heating capabilities prevent fog eliminating the buildup of mold/mildew. MirroCool also has 24/7 customer support for free or offers a paid package for $9.99/month. MirroCool plans to price its display starting at $299 and comes with or without a frame for user convenience. It intends to bring this invention to the consumers in the next few months; and the team is organizing a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign this upcoming late May, early June. The scheduled shipping date is estimated at November 2017.
Soon to Come
MirroCool envisions the use of open source technology sometime in the immediate future. Wojtek added, “MirroCool uses proprietary technology, but it will release an API allowing others to write their apps using our MirroCool technology.” The startup also plans to expand their archive of downloadable widgets and allow automatic updates rather than requiring a new purchase each time. MirroCool aims to increase user flexibility along with assuring that its interface becomes easier to install and manage.
If you are interested in becoming a crowdfunding backer, sign-up to the upcoming MirroCool’s Kickstarter Campaign.
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