It used to be that the only places where animation was screened was on rectangular screens, be it a large theatrical screen or more modest TV and computer screens. Times are changing though. Today, animation is projected onto irregularly-shaped three-dimensional buildings and trees in nature. Or it’s painted on subway tunnel walls where it can be viewed from a moving subway car. And now, thanks to MonkeyLectric, the bicycle wheel has become a new and unlikely distribution platform for animation:
Over the past few years, the small Berkeley, California-based company has developed numerous LED bike wheel display prototypes. The Monkey Light Pro is their most advanced product to date with over 256 full-color LEDs on each wheel. The system allows users to upload approximately 90 seconds of animation in a variety of media formats including AVI, MPEG, MOV, Quicktime, and FLV, and to display stable full-wheel images to the public while riding a bike.
To begin manufacturing the Monkey Light Pro, MonkeyLectric has launched a Kickstarter campaign with a funding goal of $180,000 by July 21st. They’ve already raised over $68,000 during the first three days of the campaign. The lights aren’t cheap—prices range from $495 to $795 per wheel depending on what stage of the campaign the product is ordered—but that seems a small price to pay for the opportunity to extend animation beyond the rectangular screen by pedalling your cartoons all over town.