My projects normally start with coffee. or a walk. or both. In this case it also included a business trip to San Francisco during which I came across the split-flip display in the Ferry building. It took way to long to find the correct terminology for those types of signs, but hey, wikipedia is always your friend.
These things are awesome mechanically and I love the look of them. I want one for my desk to display notifications or a larger one on my wall to show me my calendar events for the day. A nice little integration project. Hook it into the open/close sensor on my bedroom door and time gate the update for the morning and the display waits until I'm awake to update.
First problem: split-flip displays are insanely expensive. The small clocks that use them are not but there are normally only 3 per clock as opposed to the matrix I am looking for.
Second problem: these displays are rarely "small". Even the the clocks ones when built into a messaging matrix would be very large.
Third problem: building the parts for these is tedious to to by hand or without injection molding parts / screen printing the pannels.
With those three problems this project now has 3 initatives:
- Low cost: Each module should be < $2.50 in materials. If I want a 140 character display that gives me a target total cost of $350 in materials.
- Able to sit on a desk or hung on the wall: Think medium picture framesize. I need the modules to be small enough to show a large amount of characters on a desk without taking up too much space or on a wall without being overbearing.
- Be built with RPTM: Because my run of these is very small larage manufacturing processes are out of the scope. Any designed files and parts need to be done so with the inention of being built on a machine build as a Rapid Prototyping Machine (RPTM).
And with those, the research and observation phase starts.