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.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.