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Paper Signals, a voice experiment

Paper Signals are build-it-yourself objects that you control with your voice. They are fun to make, and users learn a lot along the way.

It is an experiment that explores how physical things can be controlled with voice. A few examples are available on the Paper Signals platform: they can track things like weather, Bitcoin, rocket launches, and more. Users are invited to try making one of their examples, or get the code to invent their own Paper Signal.

Built by Isaac Blankensmith and Smooth Technology with friends at Google Creative Lab, these objects are built on Actions on Google, the platform that allows you to make things for the Google Assistant and the Google Home. It uses Dialogflow to handle understanding what the user says, Firebase Cloud Functions and Firebase Database for backend code and storing data, and Arduino for programming the electronics.

 

Users can find the parts we used here, or use similar parts lying around. The second step is to print the template of the Paper Signal on a standard inkjet printer and put together all the parts. The final step is to control it with the voice using a phone with the Google Assistant (available on both Android and iOS devices) to start controlling the Paper Signal.

Instructions for how to set up one of the pre-made, example signals can be found at g.co/papersignals

Images by papersignals.withgoogle.com

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