Next-gen POV bike-wheel display tech

Bikes Fun & Games

I was stunned to see the MonkeyLectric folks’ new persistence of vision (POV) bike-wheel video display at Maker Faire, and to see how far they’ve… er… driven this tech since the last time I saw it. The video does a good job of showing off all that it can now do. Dan Goldwater adds:

I didn’t say it in the video, but this is cutting-edge tech! The notorious ‘pimpstar’ car wheels only do static images, not video. They also appear to have much worse color depth – their video shows only 8 colors while we have 4096 – this was a significant technical hurdle in POV and i have not seen any other POV system anywhere with more than 8 colors (or with full video).

12 thoughts on “Next-gen POV bike-wheel display tech

  1. cdreid says:

    Sure this is neat. So are the latest cellphones. So is whatever chinese gimmick factory #23432 is making. I thought this site was about Making things. Is make turning itself into just another geektoy magazine?

    1. Garrett says:

      Come on…I’ve watched MonkeyLectric grow from a couple of prototypes to a lineup of amazing products in the last year or two. It’s a local business started from scratch by a guy who was just interested in technology and liked to ride bikes. He also happened to start Instructables and Squid Labs. The people involved in his company are a literal Who’s Who list of the big names in DIY.

      So, it’s a homegrown business started and run by genuine makers who love tinkering and build awesome technology. How much closer to MAKE:’s ideals could it get?

      1. Anonymous says:

        i talked to these guys at interbike. can you upload your own images? answer i got was “NO”. saying that the owner practices diy does not make the product diy. being able to upload an image would be minimal.


        1. cdreid says:

          Greed shines through. These guys based their product on the work of others and now theyre all “not so open source”.

          Im attempting to develop an open source system similar to pimpstar/wheelpov for retrofit auto and bike use. Hopefully it will be bluetooth/wifi or xbee connected as well so that you can literally change pictures and maybe even play video from your cell phone or pda (The wireless part is the EXPENSIVE part). Probably based on a sanguino (need more pins for sd card and radio connect). If i ever manage it it will be open source as unlike these guys i realise im basically compiling the open source work of dozens or hundreds of other people.

  2. emperor dane says:

    I think i recognize someone, Star is that you. Seriously. Dude. Ridiculous.


  3. Sanela says:

    Hahaha. I have been in touch with Mr. Goldwater in May 2008 and notified him of a small company in Slovenia that had developed a full color RGB POV for my machines that same year. One is able to upload any kind of image, a photograph, even short video to be shown in resolution of 212 pixels. He must have forgotten about it:

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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