Google Seed Studio Little Signals

Little Signals is a series of interaction experiments and thought starters on how we can foster new behaviours and relationships with our technology. Created in collaboration with Google's Seed Studio, we have explored how technology can support us in the background of our day-to-day lives, using sound, movement and visual cues that we can subtly perceive. Designed to work in harmony with the objects we already love, in a little way.

The six objects in the series keep us in the loop, but softly, moving from the background to foreground as needed. Each object has its own communication method, like puffs of air or ambient sounds. Additionally, their simple movements and controls bring them to life and respond to changing surroundings and needs.

Little Signals builds on Calm Technology. Many everyday objects find subtle ways to inform us - from the moving hands of a clock to the whistle of a kettle. Little Signals continues that theme and explores how we might stay up-to-date with digital information whilst maintaining moments of calm.

Air interacts with its close surroundings. Pulses of air move nearby objects, like the leaves of a plant, to attract attention.

Button combines scale and sound to communicate and provide control. The top twists - right for more details, left for less - and grows as it receives information.

Movement features seven pegs that graphically represent information - like a calendar or timer - through their height and motion. The pegs work individually or as a group, and are tapped for simple input.

Rhythm generates ambient sounds. Qualities of the melody convey qualities of the information, like its importance, urgency, or tone. A wave over the object, or simply turning it over, mutes it.

Shadow communicates through the movements of the shadow it casts. They show the object’s status, like gently breathing when active or stretching in response to presence.

Tap makes use of surfaces to create sounds that act as notifications. A stronger tap means more pressing news.

Client Team
Zoe Schladow, Philip Battin, Matthew Sibigtroth + Andrew House
Chris Tirrell
Taran Wilkhu