Monkeylectric's "Full Color Persistence of Vision" Bike Wheel Video Display

Remember Star Simpson? We do (previous BB post here), and we think she's pretty great. Star emailed today and said,

I've been working at MonkeyLectric (the POV bike wheel makers, boingboing covered their very first stuff), and just finished this video of the latest wheel display at MonkeyLectric.
Specs: A 4-spoke 256 RGB LED system with stabilized images and video from 8 to 25 mph (12 to 40 km/h). Zigbee wireless control. More on the system at


  1. From their FAQ

    Can I create & download my own patterns from my computer?

    No. The Monkey Light graphics synthesizer is very configurable using the on-board control buttons, but it does not support downloading text or bitmap graphics from a computer.

    If you are interested in a Do-It-Yourself project, we recommend the SpokePOV Kit from Adafruit. It is a kit project requiring you to solder all the electronics together yourself, when completed it allows you to download your own bitmap graphics and display them on your bike wheel. SpokePOV currently only supports single-color graphics, and does not have a graphics synthesizer – it only supports downloaded bitmap graphics.

    Kind of confusing since in the video it looks like they can download graphics to it. Maybe the FAQ is old?

  2. I absolutely love these things. I have one LED on each of my bike tyres screwed onto the air valve. They only activate when it’s dark, but it appears that street lights and car headlights prevent this from happening. Thus they only light up when I turn into my driveway – not exactly why I bought them – sigh.

  3. “it does not support downloading text or bitmap graphics from a computer”

    That’s about the old/normal monkey light for seventy bucks. “The Video Pro is built custom to order, pricing starts around $2,000 per system. Contact us to discuss your application.”

    It would be nice if there was something in-between. Wireless is nice to synchronize animation between two wheels, but overkill for someone who just wants full color SpokePOV.

  4. Yeah, the video system also has much higher resolution than the consumer one (256 LEDs vs 32). I would guess it would be possible to build one for under $100, but it would take a bit of work to get right (balancing, waterproofing, etc)

  5. Apoxia: Have you tried covering up the sensors with a spot of electrician’s tape? Then, turn them off when you get to your destination.

  6. Pretty neat, but I’m not going to buy one until they make it easy to display my own graphics on the thing.

  7. That is so full of awesome, but I’m crossing fingers for ladyada to make an updated kit.

  8. I’m tempted to get a bike just to have these. Rather than abstract patterns, how about glowing creatures running along in the wheels?

  9. Ooooo. Increase the number of pixels, add a hard drive and some speakers and I can spam the neighborhood with advertisements…. er… I mean play Boing Boing Videos.

  10. they are up to more things. Somehow I know.

    Okay, I emailed them. No details, sorry.

    Monkey trifecta!

  11. I was walking down the street, minding my own business.

    Then you rode by on that bike, I saw the wheels and I

    Jizzed In My Pants …..

  12. Yayyyy!!! Finally some future funk in our lives! Jeezus, now how long do we have to wait for 3D holography?

  13. Star must be quite a catch -the ‘bail me out of terrorist prison’ part aside :(

    I’m glad to see shes still geeking out with LED’s. Does the LED industry have have a lobbying coalition like the Pork Board? They should sponsor this lady.

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