Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Monkey Light Pro - Bicycle Wheel Display System

Display images and animations on your bike wheel. Download your own graphics to the Monkey Light Pro and show them while you ride.


Use our web-based software to create a playlist with your own images and animations - or choose from our collection of custom artwork.  Then send your playlist to the Monkey Light Pro with Bluetooth wireless.
Mount the Monkey Light Pro to your bike wheel and take your message to the streets.  Once you're rolling the display fills the bike wheel and is visible from both sides.  The Monkey Light Pro is waterproof, durable and designed for use on city streets.  Crank your bike to eleven.
In the past we've hand built our prototypes for exhibits and developers only.  You may have seen one at Maker Faire, Siggraph, Dragon's Den, EuroBike, SXSW or at a Museum.  
Finally, we're ready to launch the Monkey Light Pro in product form.  We've field tested 100 units of the most recent hand-made prototype.  We've refined the design a lot from our developer feedback.  Now we need your help to manufacture the Monkey Light Pro with a user-friendly package and price.
All the footage in our video was made with Monkey Light Pro prototypes.
Check it out:

8-bit robot animation
8-bit robot animation

furry friends animation
furry friends animation

retro tape deck animation - acceleration activated
retro tape deck animation - acceleration activated

sample artwork slide show
sample artwork slide show


To get you started we'll pre-load the Monkey Light Pro with an amazing image and animation collection for you to use.  Over 10 artists have created artwork specially for the Monkey Light Pro.  We're really excited to be able to give you a curated collection of work from David OpeYoshi Sodeoka, Devon Penney, Shelley Eshkar, Kevin Kunzman, Natalie Walsh, Katya Popova, Noah Vawter and more.  This is just a taste!  If our project is successful we'll get lots more.  



  • Designed and Manufactured in California, USA
  • Weight: about 500 grams, even balance
  • Size: 520mm diameter, 25mm thick
  • Visibility:  evening, overcast and indoors.  Not visible in bright sunlight.
  • Media format support: JPG, GIF, PNG, AVI, MPEG, MOV, QT, FLV, and more.
  • On-board media storage:  1000 image frames
  • Playlist capabilities:  playlists allow looping, timing and sequencing of frames.
  • Web-based playlist creation, download from Windows and Mac
  • Developer tools and API: runs on Mac and Linux
  • Integrated Battery:  7000mAh Lithium Polymer
  • Battery Runtime:  3-8 hours at full brightness, up to 48 hours at reduced brightness.  Runtime depends on what graphics are shown.
  • Not for use with motor vehicles


The Monkey Light Pro has 4 bars of LEDs which are attached together inside your wheel.  As your ride the system rotates, using Persistence Of Vision to create an image with its 256 full color LEDs.  The Monkey Light Pro has sensors to track its speed, heads-up position and rotation direction.  This allows the system to create stable, full-wheel images from 10 to 40 mph (15 to 65 km/h).


You won't find this technology in any other product.  Geek out:
  • A 2-axis accelerometer and 4 magnetic sensors are used to track speed, heads-up position and rotation direction.  This keeps the display stable at different speeds, during acceleration and braking, and even if you ride backwards!
  • Double-sided display hardware.  Text and graphics are readable on both sides of the wheel.
  • 4-piece bolt-together design.  4 LED bars produce a full-wheel image at low riding speeds.  The bars insert within the spokes and bolt together into a single rigid unit.  Our design keeps the 4 bars accurately aligned (important for high display quality) and allows sturdy attachment to many common bicycle wheels.
  • Internal electrical loop bus.  The electrical connectors of the 4 bolt-together LED bars form a redundant loop bus hidden within the assembled device.  There are no exposed or dangling wires, and the redundant connectivity is vibration proof while riding.
  • Solid rubber molded construction.  We developed this to meet the needs of year-round use on city streets, and proved it with our smaller Monkey Light products.  Our proprietary 80A clear urethane resists cracking, scratching, clouding, water and dirt better than any type of hard plastic shell.  It's also thinner and lighter and will last years longer. We developed the process ourselves and operate our own manufacturing line here in California.


The Monkey Light Pro fits a lot of common bike wheels.  If you have a less common type of wheel please check carefully below.
  • Adult bike wheel sizes:  26", 27", 28", 29", 700c
  • Hubs:  The maximum wheel hub diameter is 58mm.  All standard front wheel hubs are fine.  All cassette (derailleur) rear hubs are fine.   Disc brake hubs are fine.  Rear hubs with a coaster brake and 1 or 3-speeds will fit.  Rear hubs with internal 5-speed or more will not fit.  Some dynamo hubs fit and some don't, you'll have to measure.  Electric-bike motor hubs will not fit.
  • Spokes:  Standard 32 and 36 spoke patterns will fit.  Wheels with more than 36 spokes will not fit.  Wheels with less than 24 spokes will not fit. 


The Monkey Light Pro includes 4 separate pieces.  Connect the pieces within the spokes of your wheel and bolt them together.  The assembled unit straps securely to your spokes.  Installation is easiest if you remove your wheel from the bike first.  
Installation and setup take about 1 hour.  We'll make a video to show you how to do it.
If you want something that works right out of the box, check out the ready-to-ride option which is pre-installed on a Linus bicycle.

Un-mounted Monkey Light Pro prototype.  4 pieces insert inside the spokes and bolt together.
Un-mounted Monkey Light Pro prototype. 4 pieces insert inside the spokes and bolt together.


Application developers are welcome and encouraged.  Our playlist, download and control software and API are available with an open-source license.  Use Bluetooth wireless to download graphics and control the Monkey Light Pro.  Make a moving installation with a bicycle, or check out our SM1 powered display stand for fixed installations.  Contact us if you have any questions about your idea.
Many developers have already done amazing things with our prototypes:
  • The Fukushima Wheel project outfitted a bike with pollution sensors.  As you ride around, it collects data from the environment and displays it on the wheels.  
  • The Science Museum of Minnesota created an educational display.  
  • Our own staff created an interactive 3D spherical display (video below). 
  • The Museum of Brisbane made a video featuring the Monkey Light Pro (video below)
  • Old Bond and Cycloscreen created innovative mobile advertising systems which include our Monkey Light Pro hardware.


  • Monkey Light T-shirt.  These will be available in all men's and women's sizes.  The shirts are black with a white logo silkscreen.  Fit style is similar to American Apparel.
  • 1 Monkey Light Pro system (for 1 bike wheel).  Just one is fantastic!  Put it on your rear wheel, it looks great riding and also you can hold the bike up and spin it easily to show your friends.
  • 2 Monkey Light Pro systems (for 2 bike wheels).  The ultimate setup, crank your ride to eleven!
  • Ready-To-Ride:  In collaboration with Linus Bikes we are pleased to offer a ready-to-ride option:  2 Monkey Light Pro systems pre-installed on a Linus Roadster Classic bicycle.  Other ready-to-ride Linus models available by request.

At a store near you: Our M210 and M232 Monkey Light bike lights are available worldwide for $50 to $75.  They are fun and visible and your purchase is a great way to help this project.  Ride one today!
International Customers Welcome: We'll ship to you using Fedex or DHL courier service.
Payment Methods: Until the project meets its funding goal all pledges can pay through Kickstarter.  After the goal is met we'll also accept Paypal and bank transfer.
Contact Us if you have any questions.  We want you to be happy and having fun!



All of us here at MonkeyLectric love riding our bikes.  We developed the Monkey Light to make riding at night just as fun as the day, and to share our good cheer with those around us.  The first thing you notice when you ride around town with a Monkey Light is how many smiles you get.  Just remember to smile back!
A business should reflect the values of its owners and employees.  Several of our staff are volunteer organizers of the largest Oakland and San Francisco events focused on positive, community-wide cycling.  We contribute many non-commercial projects and How-To's to the open source community for others to build and use on their own.  our innovative mobile sound system designs have inspired many other builders and helped enable off-grid parties around the world.
There's more about us at our company website.

The MonkeyLectric Team
The MonkeyLectric Team

MonkeyLectric design and manufacturing building - just outside San Francisco
MonkeyLectric design and manufacturing building - just outside San Francisco


We're a small company, 6 people.  Two years ago we brought our M210 Mini Monkey Light to market largely through funding from Kickstarter.  It was a really positive experience for us.  We're really grateful for all of the support we received from our backers.  Several contributed artwork and designs that were included in the final product.  The Mini Monkey Light is now available in hundreds of bike shops around the world.  We followed that up with the M232 light.
The Monkey Light Pro is a big chunk of hardware!  Just take a look at the diagram below.  Scaling it up to manufacturing requires a lot of up front costs for tooling and parts.  Creating the web interface will require development effort.  Kickstarter is the best way for us to raise funds and ensure we have enough customers to make it work -  before we go out and buy all that gear.  The Monkey Light Pro is also a really creative product.  There is a lot of potential for artist and developer collaborations.  Launching it on Kickstarter is a great way to connect and make something that is more than the sum of its parts.


Dan says:  "I built the first prototypes purely as a technology demonstration - just for fun!  I made an exhibit and showed it at Maker Faire, SigGraph, Interbike and some other places.  People kept asking me if they could buy one, but it wasn't a product yet.  We’ve built about 100 kits so far using a very labor intensive process, it is really difficult and expensive!  The prototypes also had primitive software, only the hackers could use it.  Over the past 2 years we sold some of the prototypes to application developers who did some really cool things - like the Fukushima Wheel project."
"We kept taking the Pro to all our shows - everyone loves to see it.  And they kept begging us to make it available!  Every day we get an email like that.  We put together a plan for how we could make the Monkey Light Pro  commercially - bring the price within reach and make it easier to use.  We talked to some traditional funding sources.  Bankers drive BMW’s, they don't ride bikes!  They just didn’t get what we are doing. "
"We knew the Pro was a really big project so we had to make some steps along the way.  In 2011 we launched our Mini Monkey Light on Kickstarter.  That let us prove our manufacturing technology and production capabilities.  We designed our own manufacturing line!  Now both the smaller Monkey Lights are in hundreds of bike shops around the world.  Finally we have all the pieces in place to make the Monkey Light Pro a reality.  We can do this.  I hope you will support our project so we can bring this amazing technology to you."


This does not exist yet.  The smartphone scenes in our video give an idea how it might work.  If we're lucky enough to not only reach our goal but exceed it then we will plan to work on smart phone apps that can do live control of the wheel graphics.  
Application developers are able to do their own smart phone interface as needed.


Risks and challenges

The Monkey Light Pro is a well tested design. Over the past 2 years we hand built 100 units of our latest prototype. Over 20 independent developers, artists and professional agencies have used the prototypes in a variety of applications. All of the footage in our video was made using our prototypes.
Our capabilities for engineering, design, manufacturing and distribution have been proven with our smaller Monkey Light M210 and M232 products. We Kickstarted our M210 product 2 years ago. Today both the M210 and M232 are in volume production and sold in hundreds of shops worldwide. They are top rated on Amazon and known for their quality.
The following tasks remain to complete the Monkey Light Pro:
* Design and fabricate production molds for the Monkey Light Pro, integrating the same manufacturing technology we use with our smaller Monkey Light products.
* Update the Monkey Light Pro hardware to include USB charging, newer wireless hardware, additional themes, and cosmetic improvements.
* Curate additional artwork
* Deploy our playlist creation back end onto a web server
* Create a web front end for our playlist creation tools
* Create Windows downloading tool
* Make an installer for the existing Mac download tool
Production Plan:
* We will produce the Monkey Light Pro at the same California-based facilities as our existing Monkey Light M210 and M232 products. Our smaller Monkey Light products are already in volume production, and the Monkey Light Pro will use the same production technologies.
* Component sourcing has already been completed during the prototype phase. The funding received from this Kickstarter is essential to purchasing the full quantity of needed parts at more cost effective pricing.
* Our engineering, test and manufacturing processes are rigorous and focused on producing high quality, well tested products. As we move towards final integration and testing of the Monkey Light Pro, we may learn that additional revision is needed to meet our quality standards. This may delay the delivery schedule.
* The remaining tasks may take longer than expected to complete.
* Supply chain delays. The Monkey Light Pro uses a lot of different parts. Sometimes a part can become discontinued or be out of stock for a long time. This can impact delivery schedule if we need to design or test an alternative part or wait for delivery.

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