Back when I was youngling, bunny-hopping curbs on my BMX, my friends and I put all sorts of noise-making things on our spokes. Be it a clothes-pinned playing card or those tinkling snap-on spoke beads, our loud flare guaranteed to turn a few heads.
In today’s digital world, those homespun gimmicks are likely to elicit more yawns than head turns. Now, a Northern California company has developed Monkey Light Pro, a new system that creates animated LED lights shows on bike spokes and is sure to elicit its fair share of whiplash-inducing double takes.
Designed by MonkeyLectric, the Monkey Light Pro is a set of four waterproof, LED light strips that clip on a bike’s spokes where programmable images and animations can be sent via Bluetooth.
The system works due to a phenomenon known as “persistence of vision,” where the eye retains a visual image for a spit-second after the image is removed. Remember those novelty clocks that ping-ponged back and forth like windshield wiper blades? There’s persistence of vision for you.
Bikers must be traveling at least 10 MPH for the images to be visible — fast enough for the persistence of vision phenomenon to take effect. The light clips come with set of preloaded animations, such as scampering animals or lightning bolts, but bikers can add designs of their own and upload them to the system via a USB connection, which also recharges the lights.
MonkeyLectric is currently attempting to raise $180,000 on Kickstarter to further develop the system. So far, they’re closing in on $100,000 with 54 days to go. For a pledge of $495 or more, bikers can get their very own Monkey Light Pro. But if you live if colder climates, you might have to wait until spring to go for a spin, as expected delivery dates are listed as December 2013.