Every now and then we get demonstrations of really innovative new technologies and concepts that almost no one has any chance of being able to own anytime soon. The best place to undergo this particular form of torture is at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. This year at CES, a really fantastic "smart mirror" concept from Toshiba fit the bill.
There was little information available on this novel idea, which brings the tech from countless late 1990s and early 2000s era science-fiction films to life. Simply called "Multi Display in Black Mirror," the concept combines the functionality of something like a tablet alongside your reflection.
The mirror was shown in two different environments: In a bathroom, where the reflective screen presents information to help you start your day such as the weather alongside data from connected devices like a personal fitness monitor; and in the kitchen, where the system can assist in finding, adjusting and preparing recipes, among many other uses.
The kitchen setup was particularly interesting because this larger and wider smart mirror had also been paired with a camera, allowing the user to interact with the mirror through gestures in the same way a Kinect works with an Xbox.
It doesn't appear that Toshiba has any intention of bringing smart mirrors to market anytime soon, but if they did, a rather cryptic press release notes that the system could respond "to needs in each living space like kitchens or living rooms."
A living room mirror for movies, yoga and games, one in the kitchen for cooking and entertaining, and others in the bathroom for personal maintenance could one day give us the futuristic home we were promised decades ago. Yet, now that I've seen the technology in person, it still seems like a vision of the not-so-immediate future.