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An Open Design Technology For Local Manufacturing, Flipbit Gets Its Own Kickstarter Project


Picayune, MS (August 12, 2016) - FlipBit™ is a new technology that provides zero power, environmentally friendly digital displays, for signage, art, and décor.  A FlipBit can be used as a type of mechanical pixel or multicolor LED without the need for electricity or computer to maintain its state. It can be used for large indoor and outdoor digital signage, for reusable banners, interactive art and museum displays, curiosities, educational tools and decorator accent walls. The FlipBit KickStarter Project is raising money to scale up manufacturing so that tens of thousands of FlipBits can be produced at low cost and allow the demonstration of the technology in large scale applications.

One of the reasons for developing FlipBit technology is to provide small companies with the ability to manufacture products that they can sell locally. FlipBit is an open design technology that much like open source software allows anyone to use, improve, give away, or sell their own versions of the technology and related spinoffs.  The team hopes that the technology can serve as a model to help decentralize manufacturing and bring “maker” jobs back to local economies. The KickStarter project will be providing its backers detailed information on how they can produce FlipBits themselves, and incorporate them into products that local businesses, organizations, and residents already buy.

How the Project Got Started
The project began to take shape when William “Bud” Nail, VP of Operations for Technological Services Company was looking for a project for his summer intern, Alex. “For a long time I had been thinking about a better way to do signage, art and décor. Thanks to the need to provide Alex with a summer project, I finally got the idea out of the grey matter and into a tangible product.” The underlying idea is that 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. Using a special stylus, a user can simply “draw” on a panel of FlipBits. Unlike conventional pixels, individual FlipBits are not limited to a single color, but can contain patterns and images that can convey meaning with unique styles and art forms not possible in conventional displays.

According to Nail, he and his intern went through several iterations using the company’s 3D printers to test each version, and although not everything worked initially, soon they had a viable product.  The next step was to build some examples of what could be done with the technology, but they had a chicken and egg type problem.  To demonstrate applications they needed to manufacture thousands of FlipBits.  To produce more than the 16 FlipBits an hour they could make themselves, they needed to enlist support from potential users of the technology. To enlist support, they needed to demonstrate applications.  

Enlisting support is where they hope KickStarter will help.  They plan to raise $20,000 to pay for tooling and labor to mass-produce tens of thousands of FlipBits to build large demonstration panels. KickStarter is one of the oldest and best-known crowd funding platforms. Nail said “Its not easy to get approved to run a project on KickStarter to begin with, but we are finding it is even more difficult to get noticed and supported when there are about 600 other excellent technology projects competing for backers’ attention at the same time.  So we are trying to use social media and personal contacts to get the word out about the project.”  They have also continued to turn out FlipBits slowly and have produced several videos showing the technology at use in small applications.  These videos have been posted to the KickStarter project page, as well as Facebook and Vimeo.

The project offers a number of rewards for backers starting at the $1 backer level titled “A Bit of Support – Pun Intended”.  Backers providing higher levels of support are rewarded with software and kits to create interactive art, files that allow 3D printer owners to make their own FlipBits, and even technology to build little robots that flip the FlipBits under remote control.  There are reward levels for every budget.

About the Project Creators
Alex is a student at a local high school considering a technical career path.  Bud is Chief of Operations for the privately held corporation Technological Services Company, providing custom designed software and hardware for manufacturers, businesses and government agencies.  He previously worked for General Motors as a manufacturing engineer and with NASA as a rocket-testing engineer.  He has received awards for his leadership, inventions and mentoring activities.

Links and Contacts
For additional press materials such as photos and illustrations please visit  http://www.flipbit.net or http://www.technologicalservicescompany.com/flipbit-press/

To learn more about the FlipBit KickStarter Project, please visit  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1000287771/flipbit-the-amazing-mechanical-pixel-technology/

To learn more about Technological Services Company please visit http://www.technologicalservicescompany.com

William “Bud” Nail, VP of Operations
Technological Services Company
100 Street A Ste B
Picayune, MS 39466
Office: (601) 799-2403
Fax: (603) 297-2372
budnail@technologicalservices.us

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