Especially at home, many people are surrounded by smart devices that are intended to make everyday life easier in the combination with the smart home. This comparatively new development still has a long way to go, which will also bring completely new forms of sensors and actuators. Google has now presented six “Little Signals” that are intended to inform people in alternative ways.
When devices want to inform users, they usually have two options today: Either they emit beeps or display something on their displays. Often a combination of both. This has been established for many decades, starting with a telephone and doorbell, but also has the disadvantage that people are often distracted by it. Google’s developers have thought about how to implement something like this much more discreetly in the spirit of ambient computing.
The result is the Little Signals, whose name is very apt: Small signals that can point out to the user if he wants to. Additionally embedded in the smart home and with a simple but chic design. These signals can be noticeable by very light gusts of wind, variable knocking, lifting and lowering, or even by shadow plays. So conspicuous enough to be seen, but inconspicuous enough to ignore it sometimes.
Just take a look at the following gallery and the video. The devices shown are only concepts and, according to Google, do not represent any indications of planned products. This is credible, because on the site you even have building instructions for each device ready, as you can already recreate and try them out yourself.
Such small gadgets can form the basis for new operating concepts that may still be needed in the modern smart home world. You can even interact with some devices, such as the button. I would sum it up as “UX for the physical smart home”.
At the latest after these concepts, it will only be a matter of time before such devices come onto the market and offer completely new possibilities in these areas. And if they have nothing to do, they could even serve as a chic decoration.