Downtown Amherst receives digital signs that provide live town updates

Hampshire County

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – If you’re walking around downtown Amherst, you may notice some new high tech signs. They were installed at the end of the year and focused on spreading information throughout the town.

They’re a lot like a community corkboard that can automatically update themselves. They can include events, important alerts like COVID-19 guidance and advertising for local businesses.

They’re called Soofa signs, the company that designed the solar-powered signs is based out of the Boston area. The town was able to get them thanks to some funding through the CARES act.

“We’re just very excited to be one of the first communities in western Massachusetts and have technology like this. Often you see technology or initiatives like this in the eastern part of the state and in Boston, so we’re excited to try this out for a year and see if the community finds value in it,” said Brianna Sunryd, Amherst Communications Manager and community Participation Officer.

Town Manager Paul Bockelman added, “We are excited to bring Soofa’s cutting-edge technology to Amherst. Whether it’s checking the signs for a COVID-19 testing site or reading about local business specials, the signs will undoubtedly work to keep Amherst connected to both the Town and each other. We appreciate the Town Council’s support for locating these signs which will be evaluated after a year.” The project was supported with Federal CARES Act funds. 

Not only do they provide information, but they also can act as a charging station.

“After rapid growth in the Greater Boston area, we’re thrilled to work with Amherst to bring our technology to Western Massachusetts,” said Sandra Richter, Soofa’s co-founder and CEO. “The Town of Amherst has recognized and addressed the urgent need in providing equitable access to information and technology to its community, and we’re proud to work with the Town to ensure that all are being kept up to date on information needed to keep the town safe.”  

Soofa is a female-founded startup out of the MIT Media Lab, builds the first of its kind, solar-powered digital sign with e-ink display.

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