Last month, Google expanded its Experiments program with a new category for voice interactions to demonstrate how developers can take advantage of conversations. Usually app-based, the latest Voice Experiment is physical and involves paper crafts that signal a data point.

Similar to the AIY line of do-it-yourself artificial intelligence kits, which launched a new Vision Kit for computer vision last week, Paper Signals “explores how physical things can be controlled with voice.”

Created in-house by the Google Creative Lab, these paper objects can track things like the weather, Bitcoin, and rocket launches. For example, an umbrella-shaped contraption can be assigned to signal when it’s going to rain, while a rocket-shaped item jets out flames when there is a launch.

These simple objects are all powered by an Adafruit board and a micro servo that controls the signal. On the software side, Actions on Google and Dialogflow are leveraged.

After acquiring these core components, users can just print out templates online for an umbrella, countdown, arrow, pants, and rocket. Once constructed, these items are then set by Google Assistant on any compatible device.

Google links to a site that sells the necessary board, servo, and wires for $24.95. Of course, users can also acquire these parts on their own. The paper templates can be downloaded here with Google recommending printing on cardstock. Meanwhile, tinkerers can build their own, with Google making the code available on Github.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: