Google Paper Signals - The New UI?
Google Paper Signals - The New UI?
Written by Lucy Black   
Sunday, 04 February 2018

First there was Google Cardboard and now we have Google Paper - Signals. What is a Paper Signal? Exactly what it sounds like and it's fun and cute.

This is another Google Experiment and is part of the Voice Experiment. Paper Signals are small DIY objects that you can control with your voice. You do need some hardware - a ESP8266 microcontroller (an Adafruit Feather to be exact), a microservo and the cables to hook everything up.



You can gather the parts yourself or buy a $25 kit from Adafruit. If you are feeling adventurous, you can download the code from GitHub and convert it to any microprocessor you care to use, although anything other than an Arduino would take a little more time.




Next you print out the paper template for the device you want and then fold it up and connect the microserver. Download the program and start using it. Of course you willl need an Android phone to control it with your voice.

Take a look at Paper Signals in action:


The whole point, of course it to get you to use Actions on Google and Dialogflow, which is Google's alternative to Amazon's Alexa. You also get to learn a little about using microcontrollers and some physical computing, but not that much about any of these topics unless you decide to create your own custom signals.




What is surprising about Paper SIgnals is how attractive they are. The examples are simply stylish and cute. The umbrella that opens and closes according to the weather is a modern take on the old weather house idea, but having it display the rain in Seattle might as well mean you can glue it in the open position. The Bitcoin indicator that points up when Bitcoin is on the rise is going to look a bit depressing at the moment, but that's not its fault. I particularly liked the idea of the rocket launch indicator.

They are all very nice ideas.

Is there a serious side to this as well as play?

Could the smart house really make use of an army of Paper Signals?




More Information

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