Smart Home: Google shows ideas for hidden displays, ambient computing to complement displays

Google Smart Home

Many households have transformed into a smart home and are equipped with various sensors, actuators as well as smart speakers and smart displays. Google is one of the most important providers in this area and is now dealing with the future of smart home devices, which are to be developed very strongly into the ambient sector. Now they show some concepts for hidden displays.

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Google recently introduced the idea of little signals for more or less interference-free notifications and now they are continuing this with a very similar area: they show a concept for hidden displays that only become active when the user needs them. It is less about the presentation of images or videos, but about the display of information on the surfaces of everyday things.

A graceful integration of devices requires adaptation to existing aesthetics and user styles rather than simply adding screens, which can easily disrupt a visual space, especially when they become monolithic surfaces or black screens when powered down or not actively used.

It’s about using existing surfaces of appliances instead of filling the house with displays. For some time, Google also had the TV in every living room as a smart home center in its sights, but this does not really make sense. To a limited extent, this may also apply to smart displays, but they serve many other purposes. So instead of placing displays everywhere that simply show black areas in the off state, you want to convey information via other ways.

In the video below you can see some examples of how the researchers imagine this. The information is displayed directly in a mirror, on the surface of a table, on a loudspeaker, or even on wooden surfaces. What’s more, depending on the material, these should also become a touch surface.

That looks very chic. But if you are honest, at least the one shown in the video is nothing revolutionary new. Such hidden displays, information surfaces or even touch surfaces have been around for a long time from many manufacturers. Although often as an isolated solution and therefore a non-uniform concept, technically depending on the material no great challenge. Maybe it’s not bad if Google wants to create appropriate solutions or standards.

In combination with the Little Signals, perhaps a development in the right direction. Ambient computing is the next big step, so that the smart devices are no longer necessarily recognizable as such, but nestle perfectly into the rest of the environment.