‘Wheelies’ are the latest accessories for motorcycles, developed by World Moto, a Bangkok-based tech company. Their invention allows bikers to convert a bike’s front wheels into full color LED screens – displaying mobile billboards, videos, animation or text of their choice. What’s great about Wheelies is that the display is stationary even when the wheels are in motion.
According to Paul Giles, CEO of World Moto, “The technology has the potential to turn essentially any wheel in the world into a brilliant, full-color billboard or video screen.” He said that the idea could appeal to motorcyclists who want to put a face on their wheels. “It gives their bike a face, sort of like an avatar.”
The ad for the product is amusing – it shows a gang of ‘hot’ girls choosing a geek on a motorcycle with Wheelies, over a cool biker dude. Wheelies are fun and quirky, and can show 30 seconds of video on a loop, managed by a web application. But they’re still in development stage. World Moto hopes to evolve the product to be able to stream video and play full length movies. Very practical. Not.
Wheelies make use of persistence vision – the illusion of motion generated by static images moving at high speeds. In layman terms, this means that the images are actually rotating with the wheels, but appear to be static. Each Wheelie has 424 LED lights mounted on an eight spoke wheel. A computer tracks the wheel’s speed and the position of each spoke, and controls the lighting of the LEDs.
Chris Ziomkowski, World Moto’s chief technology officer, says: “You have to track the where the wheel is at any given time and have to know the exact position of each blade. Then you have to light the LEDs based on what you want the picture to be, and you have to do that very fast.” He said that he got the idea for Wheelies after watching a spinning lightsaber in a Star Wars film several years ago.
World Moto recently displayed this stunning piece of technology at the Sign Asia Expo. They haven’t fixed a price for it yet; it would depend on the size of the wheel. But be prepared to shell out something in the range of $1,000 if you want one of these. In the past, the Thai company has been in the news for developing the world’s first meter system for motorcycle taxis.
via Ride Apart