Introduction: The Magic Suitcase

About: Al is a wearable tech entrepreneur and creator of a line of smart phone controlled LED handbags With 22 years of experience in the IT industry, Al is currently Senior Director of Inform…

The Magic Suitcase is an offshoot of the Magic Mirror project

The suitcase is sitting on top of a laptop which runs the software. The laptop is connected to an Arduino which is connected to some sensors. Here's the logical architecture of the project

This installation was for a Hotel where the Magic Suitcase among other things, speaks the Weather Forecast to the Guests.

Step 1: The Case

The case was found at a local electronic surplus shop. It's a hard case that used to house a 1950s Smith Corona typewriter.

A jigsaw was used for the oval cutout. A standard LCD mounting bracket was used to mount a 15" LCD monitor to the back of the case.

Step 2: Schematic and Magic Mirror Arduino Shield

Here's the schematic for the project

You just need an Arduino and can wire the schematic using a breadboard.

If you require a more permanent installation than a breadboard, the Magic Mirror Arduino Shield can be used. The switches and sensors are wired to two standard cat5e cables (T568B wiring) that plug into the Shield. Referencing the manual for the Shield, it will tell you what color wire goes to what sensor.

There is a kit available from Seeedstudio which includes the Magic Mirror Shield, necessary components, Seeeduino (Arduino clone), and the Magic Mirror software

Step 3: Mounting the Sensors and Switches

Sensors and Switches Used:

Yellow switch = Weather forecast
Green switch = Stock performance
Red switch = X10 on/off commands
Reed switch (magnetic) = Picasa slide show
Proximity Sensor (Maxbotix EV-1) - Plays videos when subject is within certain distances
LED - flashes when within proximity sensor ragne
Black switch - doorbell mode
Potentiometer - dynamically changes between 4 characters/modes (princess, pirate, Halloween, and insult)

Step 4: Installing & Configuring the Software

The Magic Mirror software can be downloaded from .

After installed, you set the Sensor Hub port which will be the Arduino COM port on Windows (COM3 = 5333, COM4 =5334...) or if on Mac or Linux, will always be 5333.

You then turn on which sensors you have wired up and configure other options

A complete set of instructions on how to setup and configure the software is found in the manual

Step 5: Adding an External On/Off Switch to the Laptop

The display on this laptop no longer worked so this was a good use for it. I needed to be able to turn on and off the laptop though without opening the lid since the suitcase sits on top of it.

For this, an external momentary switch was wired to the internal on/off switch and then glued on with epoxy.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

There was a large gap between the monitor and the end of the case which ruined the illusion as you could see the casing of the monitor when viewing from an angle. A cardboard tube was added to fix this.

Hose tubing from an automotive shop was added around the oval cutout for a smoother/framed look.

Lastly, since its for a Hotel installation, added some mounting brackets on the front and back so it won't tip over when used by the Guests.