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Monkey Light Pro Allows Bike Riders to Screen Animation on Their Wheels

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.

  • slowtiger


  • jordan reichek

    …and may the traffic accidents begin!

  • If I was a hipster this would excite me

    • Axolotl

      Yes, this holds absolutely no appeal for a non-hipster.

  • zac leck

    Now they can cut you off while you’re driving AND display a message about how your car is destroying the planet. win-win

  • Jen Hurler

    This seems both safe and unsafe. Safe in that it gives the cyclist more visibility but unsafe in that it’ll distract surrounding people. And so expensive. I do appreciate the idea though, despite my concerns. Seems like a great canvas for some fun ideas.

  • pizzaforeveryone

    burning man will never be the same

  • I want to acknowledge the two Philadelphia University Animation alumni, Tyler Myers and Kevin Kunzman, who contributed some of the character animation to MonkeyLectric’s Kickstarter campaign. Kevin did the dog and cat animation above.

  • Callum Austin

    I like the fact that animation is being used in a new and creative way. I like the product even though there are a few questions to be raised about safety and hipster appeal. Hopefully animation will be used in more ways than regular films and tv shows in the future.