MagicMirror² v2.14.0 is available! For more information about this release, check out this topic.

Webcam instead of mirror?

  • What a fantastic forum! Been lurking like crazy. Trying to figure out which of several different paths to go down.

    And right off the bat — here’s a dumb question. Why do we need a mirror for this project? Given a decent sized screen, and a webcam, why do we need a mirror for this? Couldn’t the webcam simply broadcast what it’s seeing onto the screen all the time? Like a live wallpaper? Then perhaps a second webcam for facial rec, microphone, etc?

    Is there a previously established way to do this?

    Trying to nail down big pic architecture before committing down a path…


  • well, the idea is that we ALL have a use for a mirror… and it could duplex for an information source…

    not many of us have a place to put a monitor/screen on the wall.

    now… I should tell you, i have a screen on the wall, running MM, which is a photoframe, with a webcam based motion sensor module… so, it goes to sleep when no one is around and wakes up when they are.

  • Right – no – you’d still get your mirror. Instead of being reflected in glass it would be a digital reflection (the webcam would constantly display it’s video feed). Does this make sense? I mean one way or another you have to have some kind of screen/monitor/display behind your mirror. if you have that going, and you have a webcam… then perhaps you could do this w/o the physical glass part of the sandwich?

  • Module Developer

    I think it will have slow and choppy quality.
    Anyway, I don’t use spymirror at all. Better for me.

  • @flipfloplife i wouldn’t think i want the camera ON the display to display the image ON the display…

    i would be displaying images from some other source (camera looking at my front door, or wherever)
    i only use the webcam for motion detection… I could screen snap too (security purposes)…
    but there would be times I wouldn’t want to capture any images

  • Module Developer


    I have a lot of color to my ‘mirror’, but I am on a limited income being disabled, so can’t really afford the one-way glass to turn it into a mirror yet. I just use it as an information and entertainment board.

  • Mine’s just a screen in my kitchen. I never used a mirror for it. It’s just a family information Center.

  • @flipfloplife Well - it took some time to understand what you mean by replacing mirror with webcam. Here I understand “mirror” as a whole system - including all the stuff one can show there.
    But if you suggest using webcam to create background picture or video for a “mirror” (that is not a mirror - it’ screen!) it sounds a great idea! It could for example be a live picture from outside camera showin the “real” weather. Maybe somebody has done this - please let us know how!

  • @helmi — yes, that’s exactly it. sometimes i might want a mirror, but sometimes perhaps i want it to be a cool live picture, then voice activate (or PIR activate) to a mirror. what I’m saying is that the glass is both the expense point and the “weak point” in terms of the screen. if the object of the mirror is to see myself, well that should be something I can accomplish with a “webcam reflection” - and in that instance I should be able to lay stuff on top (still having that “mirror” feel) — but other times I might not care to see myself, I just want whatever functionality is built into the mirror (weather, calendar, headlines, etc). This started in my brain because i’m trying to figure out why I would shell out $150 to put a mirror in front of a high res screen to make this image … “worse” in quality? a webcam can give a perfect “reflection” on the screen.

    So what i’ve been looking at is figuring out how to set the raspi cam to just webstream locally, and then display as the “background”. my cam should come today. someone has already pointed out that the pi may not have the processing power to do this visual loop very quickly ---- and that may be true. if that’s the case then a mirror does make sense. but my macbook air will do it pretty easily using VLC (yes there was lag, but I may have had things set up very inefficiently). But the look of it was cool, no fuzziness, the background image was crisp and the stuff on top was also crisp.

    I may be crazy, this may be a dumb idea. It may be semantics, but I think this is still a functional mirror in that it can show me a mirror’d effect if desired.

    Perhaps this notion is a magic “frame”. That could be a mirror, or other things. in my head you could combo this up with some 12v flush buttons on the side for different “modes” – outside weather, local undersea webcam, live shot from space station, etc.

  • @flipfloplife I know this is a few years later but were you able to figure it out?

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