The Mirror Smart Closet
Physical Models Prototype - Video Prototype
Conventional wardrobes often require extensive rummaging. Perhaps you’re looking for your favorite t-shirt but don’t remember if it’s in the wash. Or maybe you’re trying to throw together a look for any event you have coming up, but even after spending hours trying on half the combinations you can think of in your closet, nothing seems quite right. Not sure if you can wear a camel-colored blazer with black shoes? Feel like you need a necklace to bring your outfit together? Can’t remember if you wore the same top last time you saw your mother-in-law?
The Mirror Smart Closet seeks to radically change your worn life. You can find something to wear, search system-curated looks, and try on outfits, all without opening the closet doors. The Mirror Smart Closet keeps a running inventory on item status, making it easy for you to check items in and out with ease. It even connects with your calendar to ensure you have the perfect outfit to wear for any occasion and makes sure you don’t accidentally wear the same thing twice. Don’t have a fancy dress for the upcoming black-tie event? The Mirror Smart Closet’s social network opens up your wardrobe to limitless possibilities with clothes sharing. Plus, you can also go shopping right from the interface. Everything you need is right in the Mirror Smart Closet.
How could we help users operate a smart closet using an intelligent control panel interface?
Users must be able to:
Check clothing in and out
View the inventory
See items that are clean, worn often, work together
Browse items for sale that match with what they own
Connect with friends’ closets
Our team began the project by diverging on the topic to explore possible solutions with individual brainstorming before coming together and sharing our ideas. We wrote down the common themes that emerged on sticky notes in Miro and used those to define our area of focus. From there, we began to flesh out features and logistics to adhere to the constraints by pairing the sticky notes to where we saw users would need the features the most.
We brainstormed on all possible use cases to make sure we thought through each point in the process.
To effectively communicate our design concept, we drafted detailed, multi-medium sketches of the Mirror Smart Closet and all of its components.
To start the Mirror Smart Closet, the user would either tap the circle icon in the mirror to open the menu or voice activate the system by beginning a command with “Mirror.” Once on, the system greets the user with a friendly phrase displayed on the small menu panel and provides options to look at the closet, browse “looks,” shop, access friends, and manage the closet.
Display: When selecting a category item from the menu panel, a supplementary display appears. Both elements are independent of each other and moveable to anywhere on the face of the Mirror Smart Closet.
Category Screens: The supplementary display shows further categories in rows that users can swipe left-to-right through. Users can filter (e.g., color) or sort (e.g., most/least worn).
Item Information Screen: When selecting an article or accessory, the screen shows a picture of the item along with photos the user has taken wearing it. Here, the user can favorite the item, see the status (i.e., dirty, clean, lending, or borrowed), when it was last worn, enable the item with a toggle to be viewable by friends (i.e., lendable), and manage it. The system uses an algorithm to provide suggestions on what to wear with the item based on usage history and fashion information and lets users shop for other things to pair it with. Users can also browse similar items within their inventory. When the user is ready to wear or try on the article, they can do so right from that screen.
Virtual Try-On: This feature displays the image in the mirror on top of the user’s reflection.
Clothes: At the back of the closet, tops and bottoms hang on racks made of hollow rods on C-hooks. At the front of the closet on each side are two articulating mechanical guide rails, stored vertically. When a clothing item is selected, the guide rails descend to the appointed rack. The end of the rail expands into the rod, lifts it off the C-hooks, and lowers it down to the door level. The door then opens, and the user can take the item off the rack.
Shoes & Accessories: Shoes and accessories are stored in three barrel-shaped drawers, each connected by a brace. The top and bottom parts of the barrels are independent, ensuring the correct accessories and shoes will be supplied. The barrels rotate so that the barrel holding the correct items will be at the front of the closet.
Looks allow users to browse both system-curated and user-stored outfits.
Shop provides a personalized shopping experience from online retailers that the user has set in their preferences as well as those recommended to them based on their inventory.
Calendar lets users see their events and plan an outfit for each occasion, either from system suggestions, browsing looks, or by building their own.
Manage provides users the ability to manage many of the tasks and settings for the system. Here, users can check in clothes from cleaned laundry, check out clothes they’re donating for lending, and more.
Friends is the face of the social networking aspect of the Mirror Smart Closet. Users can view their friends, browse their closets, and see their submitted requests and lent items.
We spoke to two potential users of different demographics to get a broad perspective and feedback on our concept sketches.
User One, a 72-year-old female, was delighted by the concept. She really loved that you could see the status of each item. She was curious about the Friends screen and asked us to tell her more about the closet-sharing aspect of the concept. Overall, she thought the sketches were clear and thoughtful. She remarked that it would be pretty cool to own one.
User Two, a 28-year-old male, asked about the logistics of the laundry checking-in and checking-out process. He wondered if there would be a way to do all of this remotely (i.e., via an app). On the whole, User Two thoroughly enjoyed the concept sketches and said he could envision the final product.
We used this feedback to consider and sketch out how we could further communicate the idea behind the laundry check-in, browsing friends' items, and remote access to the system.
We created the physical prototype to help the user envision the many everyday uses of the smart mirror. The smart mirror model includes various features available for the user, such as picking individual items from an organized list, seeing curated looks for different occasions, borrowing from friends’ closets, shopping for needed items, and scheduling looks ahead of time for busier days. The mirror also displays the date and weather forecast so users can pick weather-appropriate outfits, which is especially useful for those surprise cold fronts or unanticipated rain clouds.
In developing the concept for the Mirror Smart Closet, we focused our efforts on the closet’s mirror-embedded smart panel. While our physical model did not include additional interface considerations for other devices, after receiving user feedback, we did take into account remote access for users through smartwatch and phone applications. With the Mirror Smart Closet application on their smart device, users can manage their closets on the go, whether that’s out and about or simply brushing their teeth. For example, users may want to review their inventory when passing by a favorite store, especially if a sale is going on. By doing a quick review, the user could notice a lack of shorts for the summer or recall that a new cocktail dress is needed for an upcoming work event and decide to browse the store.
Due to the limitations of the medium, we were unable to show the inner workings of the closet and closely match the sketches in terms of detail and proportion. With more time and resources, a physical prototype could be made to match the functionality and include more detail in the layout of the smart mirror’s control panel (e.g., the menus would include more images and options).
Here are a few areas our team would like to explore:
Usability testing of the panel and smart watch app to obtain user feedback.
Data tracking facilitates the classification, storage, and selection of individual items which starts with scanning a QR code on the label.
The biggest challenge in creating this design and physical model was the obstacle of not being able to collaborate in person. Unlike when designing digital products, we were not all able to collectively work together through software like Stormboard or Miro. As our group work was remote, there was no way to divide the labor of making a physical prototype. Since the physical model was created by one person, it was difficult for the others to give input until after the model was done. With differing schedules and responsibilities, each team member had to use their discretion when completing work individually in hopes that the team’s vision was fully captured. For example, certain images and layouts in the original sketches could not be carried over to the physical prototype because of restrictions, like needing moving parts within the closet and menus being too small to capture on film. This project felt particularly hard to work on as a remote team.
Our team realized a product concept for a smart closet control panel through its presentation as a physical prototype. Using brainstorming, concept sketches, user feedback, physical modeling, and video editing, we sought to effectively communicate the value proposition of the Mirror Smart Closet, the new way to get dressed.