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  1. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2005
    Location: China
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    I want to make a talking mirror to put over my fireplace - at least for right now. (The bigger picture - I am going to begin a masters degree in using education in technology and I want to creative ways to disguise computers.) What I am thinking would work - to get an lcd monitor, take the frame off and have a picture frame shop make a golden frame for it. Then in the middle of each of the 4 sides of the frame, drill a small hole and hide a webcam in it, connect it to a computer and let the computer project what it sees through the 4 webcams. The reason why I choose 4 - maybe 2 would work - is that I don't want the lcd to mirror the true image that the webcams see, without distortion. If I only have one webcam, I think there will be some distortion because of the angle of the one camera - it is not in the "true" center of the mirror. It would be nice if the lcd could show 3D, so having more than one webcam is likely to be a necessity.

    Is this possible? What kind of hardware and software is necessary? What are some terms I can use to search with?

    Thanks for any help you can provide.
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  2. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Republic of Texas
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    Let's focus on the end goal, as you may not need to burn a lot of dollars with some convoluted Rube Goldberg method. A standard flat-screen LCD monitor could simply be covered with acrylic semi-transparent two-way mirror film. When the monitor is showing black screen, all that is seen is the mirror reflection itself, but once the monitor illuminates with a bright image, that image will shine through the reflective material.

    There is no practicality to the camera method you are proposing.
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  3. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
    Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: AZ, USA
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    I'd try out the four camera idea first before installing. Just about every laptop now comes with a camera and you could test your concept easily enough and see if a single camera would work.

    I would also consider a regular 'spy' type camera as they are generally smaller and easier to place in a small frame. The downside would be that a 'capture card' would be needed. But if you wanted to use four cameras, that might be easier than using USB type webcams. Not sure you can get four to work at the same time over USB.

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    I think the main question is what do you want your 'talking mirror' to do? Just a mirror with a picture of whoever standing in front of it doesn't sound that interesting. Maybe you are thinking using voice recognition and use a program to respond with a voice?

    If so, most newer laptops also have speech recognition and voice output and then you would just need a program to set up a response to work out the concept.
    Last edited by redwudz; 30th Jul 2014 at 10:04.
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  4. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Also, a flipped camera is not substitute for a mirror. The difference in quality (resolution, dynamic range, multi-view stereoscopic perspective, color accuracy, "frame rate") is so marked as to be obvious to anyone with full mental capacity (excludes children, MR, animals, etc).

    Try a full-color projection hologram on smoke/mist. THAT is believable! (Saw exhibit at Lincoln Museum - awesome!).
    Or one of THESE: http://www.amazon.com/Mirage-3-D-Instant-Hologram-Maker/dp/B0002W3J7M/ref=pd_sbs_t_2?i...DMVYJ61RQRCBJS. Now that's a fun illusion!

    Bigger problem I see is: how is the computer suppose to react? Disguising and illusion with photographic imaging have been possible for magicians for over a century, but the reality of the illusion is only as good as how it interacts. Computers are still STUPID in this regard.

    Scott
    Last edited by Cornucopia; 30th Jul 2014 at 11:17.
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2005
    Location: China
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    Thanks! The first objective - I want to make this a kind of "mirror, mirror on the wall" kind of thing...during my class I might say, "well, Mr. Mirror, what do you think?" and have the mirror start talking to the children. Second objective...it would be cool if I could have people's faces morphed when they are looking in the mirror. This is where I started thinking about using cameras.
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  6. Member Cornucopia's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2001
    Location: Deep in the Heart of Texas
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    Then check out FaceRig. Combine that with someone in the next room on a webcam (listening in), and you have GOT something that the kids would love, IMO.

    Scott
    "When will the rhetorical questions end?!" - George Carlin
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  7. Originally Posted by Haopengyou View Post
    The reason why I choose 4 - maybe 2 would work - is that I don't want the lcd to mirror the true image that the webcams see, without distortion. If I only have one webcam, I think there will be some distortion because of the angle of the one camera - it is not in the "true" center of the mirror.
    Do you realize how hard turning multiple views into a parallax free view will be? Unless you find software that already does it you will be spending a lot of time programming.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2005
    Location: China
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    Do you realize how hard turning multiple views into a parallax free view will be? Unless you find software that already does it you will be spending a lot of time programming.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks, I did not! That is why I posted this question on this forum...so many well informed people here
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  9. A box with a half silvered mirror, an LCD display and a camera is a more practical solution. Of course, it won't be flat. You'd have to recess it into the wall.
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