A breakthrough in news intimacy

Is this your idea of a perfect start to the morning? The New York Times R&D lab is working on a bathroom mirror that serves up data, the Neiman Journalism Lab reported recently.


The device, within its notional home, would replace the standard bathroom mirror. And like the R&D Lab’s screen-topped table, it’s all about bringing a new kind of intimacy to the news experience. You can use it, say, to browse Times headlines, or watch Times videos, while you’re brushing your teeth. You can use it to schedule events on your personal calendar, or to shop online, or to exchange messages — from the classic “buy milk” on up — with other members of your household. While the mirror is capable of serving (relatively) traditional forms of content — individual articles, videos, etc. — via its screen functionality, even more striking is its experimentation with information that has, directly, very little to do with the Times itself. In exploring the realms of health and commerce alongside more standard editorial content, the Times Co. is hinting at the products we might see when news organizations expand their scope beyond the news itself.

New York Times R&D Lab: Health and the “magic mirror” from Nieman Journalism Lab on Vimeo.

The mirror can also select what tie goes best with the shirt you’re wearing,.

Is a bathroom buddy what you’re looking for? Be honest: Do you take your smartphone to the bathroom with you?

Update 4:02 p.m. – I knew I’ve seen this idea before. I just couldn’t remember where until just now.

  • Jim Shapiro

    Will it still show if you’ve gotten a clean shave?

  • Al

    If I get one of those could get the 5×8 out a little earlier so I could catch the rouser while I shave?