CUMakerSpace seminar derived from Google's Paper Signals experiment
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PaperSignals @ 5955890

Paper Signals, CUMakerSpace Seminar

Columbia University MakerSpace ("CUMakerSpace") seminar derived from Google’s 2017 Paper Signals experiment. This project provides a solid entry into an IoT (Internet of Things) framework and mindset, and is applicable to users and makers of any skill level. Please read Google's tutorial for any information that may have been overlooked, and for any updates that have not (yet) been included in this adaptation for the Columbia University MakerSpace.

In Google's explanation video above-- which I highly recommend you watch-- there are descriptive videos, a clear context, and a very good motivation for this seminar. It is recommended that you read, watch, and mesh with the vibe of Google's Voice Experiment's website, or have some interest in IoT development before continuing on with the rest of this tutorial (~7 min. of reading from this point). Please reference the Google tutorial for Paper Signals until this document is updated with a complete walkthrough of the material.


Created by: Nicole He and Dan Motzenbecker

Adapted for CUMakerSpace by: Vinay K Mehta

Modified by:


Firstly, if you haven't already seen this project video by Google, please watch it.

Next, in order to configure your device, you will definitely need a device capable of running Google Assistant and logged into your Google Account.


As of December 03, 2017 there exists a ~$25 bundle on Adafruit recommended by Google that includes all the necessary electronic components for this seminar.

Should the above bundle become unavailable, equivalent products on Adafruit are provided below:

Paper Materials

  • Thicker paper (80-100 lb. card-stock. Everything will be housed inside a card-stock structure. You want it to feel nice tactically, look good visually, and support itself structurally. Think more business-card-paper and less textbook-page-paper.)
  • Sticky stuff (glue)

Software Required

Note: See the Google tutorial here for Paper Signals here for installation instructions and how to obtain the relevant API keys needed.


  • Vinyl cutter
  • Paper cutting tool
    • Straight edge cutting tool
    • Alternatively: Scissors
  • 3D printer
  • 2D printer (ie., an actual, 2D paper printer 😉)
  • Screwdriver (probably something small-diameter since we're working with small microntroller boards. Also preferably Phillips-head)
  • Narrow point to score folds (eg., empty mechanical pencil, a nail, back edge of an X-ACTO blade, same screwdriver from above, etc.)
  • Ruler


For now, we will follow the literal instructions from Google. The reason I say that is because their instructions have very, very pretty pictures and very, very pretty slideshows, so it makes sense to follow their lead for now.


  • Replace most (if not all) paper cut with separate parts from 3D SketchUp tutorials or parts that can be cut from the laser cutter
    • Servo enclosure
    • Other shared parts
    • Signal specific parts (ie umbrella rotation attachment)


This seminar was very much derived from Google’s own, aforementioned tutorial by the aforementioned creators. So much credit for this endeavor is owed to work done by creators Nicole and Dan, and I cannot thank them enough for the amazing and accessible work they have provided.


Copyright ©Vinay Keshav Mehta 2017

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.