SF Startup Starts Marketing Its Own Take On Flip-Disc/Split-Flap Displays

February 3, 2022 by Dave Haynes

I don’t know if the modern takes on old-school flip-disc or split-flap sign technology would qualify as digital signage, but I’ve always liked the kinetic, noisy nature of signs that have madly spinning characters that eventually lock in and present a message – whether that’s revised train arrival times at a rail hall or drink specials on a bar’s wall.

A Brooklyn company called Breakfast actually turned up at DSE and InfoComm a few years ago showing its version of the technology, and got a lot of attention because it was well outside the flat panel and LED display norm. But that company has since pivoted into kinetic artworks, using the same core technology.

Another company, Phlly’s Oat Foundry, has a variety of what it calls split flap displays for commercial uses.

Now a company based in San Francisco has its own version – aimed at everything from businesses to homeowners, with a fixed size display that looks like a flat panel TV and controls managed on a smartphone app.

Says Vestaboard: With Vestaboard, you can inspire family or team members by easily sending messages from anywhere. Displays up to 132 characters at a time including all the colors of the rainbow.  

The units cost just shy of $3,000 USD and I assume there are no recurring costs beyond that. So not cheap, but also not crazy expensive.

There’s an API, which suggests this could get updated by a conventional digital signage CMS, or from a cell in a network-shared spreadsheet.

I don’t see these sorts of things as competitive to digital signage displays, but certainly complementary. The mechanical nature of these things is a fun show that I think would intrigue people who design spaces and experiences.

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