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Computer Engineering Technology students create real life magic mirror


Jackson Hamilton demonstrating the magic mirror
Jackson Hamilton demonstrating the magic mirror

Forget the fairy tale – two Fleming Computer Engineering Technology students are creating a real life magic mirror that can provide news and information and even answer basic questions.

The team of Aaden Storms-Bedard and Jackson Hamilton have spent their sixth and final semester working on the applied project. The Applied Projects course, offered within certain programs in the School of Business and the School of Trades & Technology, pairs up groups of students with clients or sponsors to come up with a solution to a real-world problem. For this project, Aaden and Jackson worked with Fleming faculty member Ghada Hussein as the client.

“The project works by having a two-way mirror placed in front of a computer monitor,” explains Aaden. “There is a Raspberry Pi computer on the back of the project to run the software. While the software is running, white text is displayed on a black background. The white text shines through the mirror, while the background does not, which gives the illusion of text appearing on the mirror.”

The mirror can display information relevant to Fleming College and the community in the form of local weather and weather forecast, a news ticker of the Peterborough Examiner, the date and time, and Fleming’s academic schedule.

“Alexa Voice Services is also integrated into the project so you can ask it questions, some general and some relating to Fleming College,” added Jackson.

The technology could potentially be used as the processing centre, or the “brain” of an automated home system, said Aaden.

“Think of Jarvis from Iron Man,” he explained.

Aaden and Jackson said they were drawn to the project due to the hardware and software aspect of it. It was relevant to the courses they have taken within their program at Fleming and also included some of their personal interests.

The project has challenged them over the course of the semester.

“Nothing ever goes exactly according to plan so you need to constantly adjust to solve challenges,” said Jackson. “There have been some issues with hardware procurement, such as parts not having all of the features that were advertised. Some software also did not work as originally intended and some troubleshooting had to be done to get the project into a working state.”

However, working as a team has helped move the project along.

“Different team members have different strengths meaning that they can cover the weaknesses of others and create a better project,” said Aaden. “It helps with brainstorming ideas when you can bounce ideas off of each other and it helps with troubleshooting when individuals have a different perspective on the problem.”

Problem-solving and working with limitations, such as a budget and a scheduled timeline, have helped prepare the students for the workplace.

“You can’t plan for every little detail. Sometimes compromises have to be made due to unforeseen circumstances,” said Aaden.

Jackson added that working with a real-world client has been, at times, stressful but ultimately rewarding.

“It’s exciting to create something from an idea. Our sponsor, Ghada Hussein, has been helpful and supportive but uncompromising on what she wants from this project.”

Students in the School of Business and School of Trades & Technology will present applied projects at the Fleming College Innovation and Technology Showcase, in Partnership with Bell. Members of the public are welcome to attend and view the students’ projects in the Kawartha Trades and Technology Centre on Thursday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

Media, for more information please contact:
Laura Copeland
Communications Officer
705.749.5530 x 1370