Monkey Light Pro turns bicycle wheels into colorful, animated displays
May 29, 2013
There are plenty of interesting ways to deck out your bicycle, but MonkeyLectric may have come up with the ultimate way to make it stand out on the road. The company's new Monkey Light Pro is a set of LED bars that attach to a bicycle wheel and can be programmed to play colorful animations.
This isn't the first light-up bicycle wheel system we've seen, and MonkeyLectric itself has produced other models in the past, but none have been as elaborate as this. Over the last two years, the company has been hand-making prototypes of the newer system for special events and projects. During that time, the developers practiced their manufacturing processes with smaller products until they felt ready to launch a more complex system.
The Monkey Light Pro features four bars sporting a total of 256 full-color LEDs, which fit together inside the spokes and display bright images over the entire wheel when it's in motion. Riders can upload still graphics or short animations via Bluetooth and watch them light up on both sides when the bike reaches 10 to 40 mph (15 to 65 km/h). The setup also includes a two-axis accelerometer and four magnetic sensors to track a wheel's speed and rotation, ensuring the images remain stable when speeding up, slowing down, and even riding backwards.
It's designed to fit any 26 in (66 cm) or larger bicycle wheel, and includes a stainless steel anti-theft strap to keep it secure. The system is constructed from a durable clear urethane, keeping it protected from water, vibrations, and general day-to-day use. A built-in lithium battery charges through USB, offering 3 - 8 hours of runtime at full brightness and up to 48 hours at a reduced level.
With a web-based program, users can create their own playlists of images for display, using their own files or a collection of pre-loaded animations from various artists. The software and API are also freely available to any programmers who want to experiment with other creations using the light system. Unfortunately, there's no app to control the display with a smartphone just yet, but the developers are hoping to secure funding to make that possible in the future.
MonkeyLectric is currently running a Kickstarter to finalize the design and bring it to production. At the moment, anyone who backs the project for US$695 or more will be among the first to receive the finished Monkey Light Pro, which is expected to ship in December of this year.
In the meantime, the video below shows some of the colorful and creative animations the Monkey Light Pro can display.
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