Breakfast Evolves Mechanical Flip-Disc Signs As Kinetic, AI-Driven Artworks

March 15, 2021 by Dave Haynes

If you have been around the industry for a while and Digital Signage Expo was part of your travels, you may remember 4-5 years ago a Brooklyn studio called Breakfast showing its flip-disc displays off on one side of the exhibit hall floor.

The company’s tech is not digital signage as we know it, but is an interesting play on the old-style mechanical flip disc signs used at airports and train stations to relay arrivals and departures.

Breakfast generated a lot of buzz at DSE, but was only at the show the one time. But I stumbled on a Linkedin post that shows the company is still at it, pushing the boundaries on what you can do with these mechanical discs. The company was targeting things like corporate lobbies and brand marketing, but now seems to mainly be selling the displays as art pieces – like this one called Empire State.

It is a kinetic A.I. artwork that visualizes the current time-of-day and weather at the Empire State Building in New York. The imagery, says the company, was created from running a sketch through an Artificial Intelligence model to generate two variations on the image, each printed on each side of the discs. The piece visualizes the current time-of-day and weather by animating clouds, rain, light/shadow, by rotating sections of discs to the reverse side.

When people walk up to the piece, they will see their image reflected back at them.

The technology is much more something that complements digital displays, as opposed to being an alternative. At least part of the appeal with this tech is the flipping motion of the units, and the sound it generates.

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