The satisfying percussion of the mechanical split-flap display once synonymous with arrivals and departures within the halls of train stations, bus depots, and airports makes a welcome return as the Vestaboard – a mechanical messaging and display system refreshed with wi-fi connectivity, app integration, and voice-command technology.
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The nostalgic ASMR-inducing click-clacking mechanics remains at the heart of the Vestaboard experience – a 37″ x 21″ x 3″ messaging system outfitted with a 23 x 7 grid alphanumeric layout (alongside 8 TBD art/colors characters) designed to display up to 161 characters at one time. Seen from the perspective of a digital native, the Vestaboard’s inherent brevity seems practically the manifestation of a concisely written tweet. And in fact, the Vestaboard is Twitter compatible. The system also plays nice with IFTTT, Google Calendar, Slack, and other info-productivity technologies. So beyond sharing 160 character tweets with coworkers, the display is a novel way to share news and weather updates, quotes, or reminders with an audible cue no messaging app can match.
The Vestaboard also plays nice with both the Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice controls, allowing users to access their calendars and to-do lists with simply a holler. At launch, the system is iOS-compatible, with the promise Androids will see support soon afterward.
Sometimes the best technologies are the simplest, distilling user experience to an uncomplicated single feature. The designers of the Vestaboard seem to have successfully kept intact everything pleasurable about yesterday’s tangible technology, while marrying it with the convenient accessibility and connectivity of today. That’s a message we can flip out about.