FlipBit - The Amazing Mechanical Pixel Technology
FlipBit - The Amazing Mechanical Pixel Technology
Scale up manufacturing of a reusable – zero power, environmentally friendly digital display, for signage, art and decor. Open Design.
Scale up manufacturing of a reusable – zero power, environmentally friendly digital display, for signage, art and decor. Open Design. Read more
About this project
If you miss your chance to back this project and claim a reward, many of the rewards and other related products and technologies will be made available on our website for purchase. www.FlipBit.net
New to KickStarter? Not sure how it works? You may want to Watch This Video First. If you decide to back the project, click on the green Back This Project Button above.
For decades I’ve been thinking about a better way to do signage, art and décor. Thanks to the need to provide an intern (Alex) with a summer project I finally got the idea out of the grey matter and into a tangible product. Digital signage shouldn't have to use power when the data is at rest (or no one is looking). With FlipBit, only a small amount of power is needed (and that can be people power) to change the bit's state and as long as it is at rest, it uses zero power.
Now you may be thinking - Not into signs - I've seen enough - moving on, but wait! FlipBits aren't just for signs. They can be used for interactive art, decor and even game creation. Imagine a wall that has two different murals, one for day and one for night. Or how about a mosaic art board for children to experiment with. Think about it, FlipBits may only have two sides, but each can have unique intricate designs. That is why they are bits not pixels. Hand made or die-cut stickers can be used to create detailed designs and apply to either side of the bit.
The FlipBit Designer (included with many of the rewards) lets you visualize and estimate the cost of your idea before you commit to building or buying real FlipBits. It will be available for Mac, Windows and Linux (thanks to LiveCode), and with enough interest we may even port it to mobile devices. (To see how the Conversation piece above was made and see a demo of FlipBit Designer watch the video below.)
I have an idea for an Advent Calendar where a completed picture is revealed after all the days have been counted down to Christmas. My uncle has an idea to use them as a progressive window shade, where the shiny side is turned to the sun when it is hot and to the interior when it is cold. Do you know what a QR code is? If so, I bet you can think of dozens of reasons to Flip between codes. There are probably as many ideas as there are people, and at least one good game out there. Name it FlipBit Go if you like.
Now isn't this the perfect gift for that hard to shop for person in your life? You give them a software tool and a few demonstration bits and let their imagination go wild. (One person described FlipBits as sharing DNA with Lite-Brite® and Etch A Sketch®.)
Now we have a kind of chicken and egg problem. How do we demonstrate what a great technology this is without lots of FlipBits? How to we scale up to build lots of FlipBits without demand? That is where you can help.
With this Kickstarter project I have two goals:
One obviously is to produce a product, but that is what I do often without Kickstarter. This goal is not just to make FlipBits but encourage imaginative people to create their own products using the technology.
The second goal and reason I'm here at Kickstarter is to promote distributed manufacturing in general, and specifically by local and regional small businesses. We don't believe that responsible manufacturing can or should be done in a single location or region.
Environmentally friendly digital displays and other spin-off FlipBit products we imagine can be a start. The spin-offs like a smart stylus, remote automation and portable display towers are beyond the scope of this project, but we will be sharing them during the course of the project with our backers. Hopefully this project will provide some tools and provide encouragement to others to try their hand at manufacturing.
I would love to provide an avenue for people to create their own jobs or hire additional employees if they already have a business. One of my favorite things throughout my career has been to mentor and develop other professionals and craftsmen. (I’ve received an award or two for my work in this area.) Maybe we can do that on a larger scale by demonstrating reference designs and scalable local manufacturing techniques that can be employed by anyone who is willing to put in the effort, without the necessity of raising much capital. That is why I’m pledging with this project to put my best effort into sharing knowledge and expertise to aid others as much as time and resources permit.
To achieve these goals, we have to demonstrate some examples. Our current plans are to demonstrate some big, bigger and huge signage and some automation examples. For this we need to make a lot more FlipBits. While I can demonstrate some applications using the few we currently manufacture, we need to scale up to making thousands fairly quickly.
We also want to experiment with new materials, and as we have time, we want to perfect one or two examples of automated bitFlippers. Really, flipping bits with your finger is quite satisfying, but when I show people the stylus technology, they get excited. Just walk up to the digital sign and draw to make changes.
Once you start moving signage to high elevations, you see the necessity in having a “monkey” or other remote automation method. You can check my postings for more information on the difference between monkeys, spiders and other concepts of automated bit flipping. If you back the project at certain levels, you’ll have behind the scenes access to prototypes and tools you can build yourself. Eventually everyone will have access, but as a backer you get advance access.
All of us, myself and my current and future interns, craftsmen and makers, artists and entrepreneurs who are interested in pursuing this technology, will need a lot of FlipBits. It is their availability that makes the next stage of development possible. Did I mention we need your help to ramp up production quickly?
If you’ll help fund ramping up the production of FlipBits, you’ll be rewarded by getting early access to your own FlipBits, example products using FlipBits, 3D Print Files, Software, and Behind the Scenes knowledge. Take a look at our rewards and select the one(or several) that fits you best. And please, get the word out to others, especially those who like to make things.
The First Introduction Video We Made for the Project
The first part of my career was spent in manufacturing as a process control and automation engineer. Later I was recruited to join NASA to build a new instrumentation and controls group for propulsion testing, and spent over a decade hiring and mentoring a new generation of engineers. We went on to upgrade many of the 1960's vintage systems and most of these engineers are playing key roles at NASA today.
In 2000, I left NASA to join my Dad and Uncle (both also engineers) in the family technology business where we provide design engineering and management advice to industry and government agencies. Soon I found that there was a need to build or manufacture specialty products for many of the same clients. So I reorganized a sister company to provide Just-In-Time manufacturing.
We specialize in quick turnaround, clean sheet designs and taking them to full production in just weeks or months. We have literally produced thousands of 3D printed parts and hundreds of custom printed circuit boards in just the last few years.
Exactly what we do and who we do it for is our clients' business, so my ability to share details of much of my experience is limited. But to give you an idea of what people who have worked with us think: The public record shows that I was awarded NASA’s highest engineering honor, the Medal for Exceptional Engineering Achievement, as a NASA employee in 1999, and 15 years later, in the private sector, my company, Technological Services Company was awarded a prestigious NASA Small Business Industry Award. (This should not be interpreted as an endorsement by NASA, they are not allowed to do that. These are just the facts.)
Risks and challenges
I usually have one to a few student employees that I mentor and train to do much of the day to day hands on manufacturing and fulfillment duties. If this project was to exceed our modest funding goals, I will either have to take on more than the usual number, hire additional full time staff, or outsource some of the work.
If the response is completely overwhelming (a good problem to have) locally we have sheltered workshops for people with special needs that are usually looking for counting and packaging type work to help in fulfillment.
I have a favorite injection molding company I where I like to send my clients for volume production. To date they have always been able to go from prototype to moderate production rates in just a few weeks, and are not usually overbooked. If I was forced to use another company, there will be the usual trust, schedule and quality issues to worry about. That is not to say we will necessarily outsource the production, but if we did there would be the associated risks.
You may notice that although we talk about building a "really huge sign" as a technology demonstrator, we don't specify how big "huge" is. That is by design. We don't want to over promise.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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