Many a self-respecting Trekkie (sorry … Trekker) has made the old, “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.” joke about a million times. It usually comes up when you want something from the kitchen but can’t be bothered to go get it; it’s that moment when we all wish we had a replicator. Failing that there’s the “Computer! Will it rain today?” gag. As much and as often as we all laugh at Star Trek’s (sometimes) goofy futurisms — Kirk was using a flip phone in the ’60s — some of them are coming to pass. Take a test run of the Cybertecture Mirror (you can see it in action at Colour Living in Wanchai) and you may feel compelled to dress up in that hidden Starfleet uniform.
At it’s simplest, the Cybertecture Mirror is a “reflective window in a digital life.” it’s an elegant, understated mirror with an intensely reflective surface that wouldn’t be out of place in either the living or the bathroom. But this mirror goes above and beyond the call of duty. It’s a smartphone that you have no chance of dropping down a sewer … or a toilet bowl.
That makes it sound like a toy, which it most definitely is not. An award winner at the DFA and a star exhibit at the Inno Design Tech Expo in December, the Mirror was designed by James Law and is manufactured in Hong Kong by the eponymous James Law Cybertecture. It’s one in a series of so-called everyday objects that Law is dragging into the digital domain. The sensor pad-based Mirror screen is equipped with both a LINUX and a proprietary interface, features stereo audio output, displays information in English and Simplified Chinese and connects to the Internet via WiFi (or LAN) and functions through cloud-computing applications.
With the touch of a button, the Cybertecture Mirror will tell you whatever it is you want to know while you brush your teeth: weather, news headlines, movie reviews, time where you are — if the mirror is in a hotel, which it may be soon. It can also allow you to update one’s ever-crucial Facebook page, or Tweet what you’re doing at that very second (“Rinsing mouth.”). You can store and review your health details to the online portal to keep track of your diet, weight, heart rate or whatever you need to know daily. It streams media so movies are no longer confined to the bathtub (though at the right time of day that’s still an option), and fitness junkies can follow an exercise regimen and watch their form if there’s enough space.
As Cybertecture itself sums up, “A simple mirror or a smart device, the Cybertecture Mirror can be connected to smart home or property management systems to relay resident, guest and building information. It can also be a TV, an information display as well as a mirror, wherever it is sited.” This thing could make an iPad look like the toy it is. And yes, there’s a remote control unit and it can absolutely be used to apply make-up. But whatever you do, don’t ask it who the fairest of them all is. It just might tell you the brutal truth.