Reflecting on the Future of Interactive Bathroom Technology

Although some of us like to think of the bathroom as a technology-free oasis where TVs, smartphones and computers are banned, there are probably even more of us who happily play away on our iPads while sitting on the throne. The New York Times’ research and development lab is developing a Kinect-enabled “magic mirror” that would bring you all kinds of news and weather and, oh yeah, some ads, too – all while you’re conducting business in the loo.

While to some this might seem like an invasion of privacy, we can actually see some positive points here. Imagine getting all of the morning news while you’re shaving your face or styling your hair without cluttering up your tiny bathroom with a TV. The gadget would see what you’re wearing and make suggestions on accessories or additions – a welcome feature for people with no natural fashion sense. You could even use the mirror to exchange messages with other people in the house or leave notes for yourself.

The scary part of the mirror comes from its ability to recognize movements and objects in your home. In the video above, the mirror recognized that the user was holding a box of Claritin and brought up instructions on using the medication. Depending on how the information was used, this could be a pretty sketchy feature. Still, there are always ways to exploit technology – and this particular gadget is far from becoming a household item just yet.

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See more in Home & Personal or under Gadgets. September, 2011.