zondag 1 juni 2014

A Super Smart Concept for Dumbed-Down Digital Signage.

Signage is the unsung informational scaffolding of the built environment. It’s not especially glamorous, but it does the crucial work of telling us what we’re looking at. Lately, however, we’ve begun to see a new breed of signs that aren’t really signs at all. In schools, office buildings, hospitals and the like, flat screen TVs have become a common fixture.
Instead of using paint and print, we’ve started using pixels to convey different information at different points during the day. It’s not an especially efficient way to do things, in terms of power consumption, but finding an alternative is tricky. How do you build a sign that can change moment to moment without resorting to an electricity-sucking display?
Pixel Track, a new project from the influential London studio Berg, is one possible solution to that problem. It’s basically the least-digital digital signage imaginable. Like its understated internet-connected washing machine, Berg’s signage shows the wisdom in approaching “smart” objects with a bit of restraint. As screens proliferate in spaces public and private, Pixel Track’s a compelling argument that the smarter solution might actually involve dumbing things down.
Berg’s sign combines internet-connected smarts with a display made up of mechanical pixels, each with two sides. When a new message is sent to the display, a computerized track sweeps along the backside and flips the pixels into the proper configuration, like a robotic Vanna White (back when Wheel used mechanical pixels instead of touchscreens, that is).

The advantage to the design is that once the pixels are flipped, the sign doesn’t require any power to display its message. “There’s no Windows PC driving it locally and no local server required, just a meager power supply to drive it,” Jack Shulze, Berg’s co-founder, writes about the project. “The smarts are on the network, where they should be.” In certain situations, it could even run off of a battery.
Aesthetically, Berg’s prototypes don’t look much different than the unsightly LED signs you see above theater doors in multiplex cinemas. But the mechanical system is much more flexible than its digital counterparts in terms of its size, shape, and how it can be adapted to its environment. Plus, its cloud-based operation means it can easily interface with apps and other data streams.
Changeable signage is a fairly banal problem, and you might wonder why a world-class design studio would tackle it at all. But Pixel Track is another elegant expression of a future Berg’s long been exploring–one where we don’t default to the most high-tech solution just because it’s available.

Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten