What is SpokePOV?

SpokePOV – short for Spoke Persistance of Vision – is an invention of M.I.T. graduate Limor Fried. Limor and her business partner, Phillip Torrone, are leading a renaissance in DIY and hobby-est electronics for the 21t century, from their base in New York.

Under the name Adafruit Industries, Phil and Limor sell a range of electrical kits, mostly invented while Ada was studying as a student at the prestigious M.I.T. It’s the kit form that’s important – you’re not buying a toy from them, you are buying a project. Something you put your time and effort into. As Torrone says, “if you can’t open it, you don’t own it”, referring to the huge number of everyday consumer products that you can’t fix yourself, such as iPods and DVD players.

SpokePOV is an advancement of an earlier kit, the miniPOV. The miniPOV allowed you to display short messages using LED’s (light emitting diodes) – tiny blinking lights on a stick, that when waved fast enough, spelt out words.


The SpokePOV is the miniPOV’s big brother, designed to be fitted into the spokes on a bicycle and displayed to the world.

default setting for spoke pov

image by Tobin

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Because SpokePOV is a bigger version of the same technology as the miniPOV, it’s possible to show more that letters. SpokePOV can display fairly complex images, and even has the ability to show short animations. Really short – only four frames!

In keeping with the DIY ethos behind the rest of their work, you don’t just get a set of pictures or animations to display. Adafruits give you everything you need to make your own image, and upload them to the SpokePOV. One of the purposes of this website is to allow people to choose which images are to be displayed when the Glowing Cycle Fleet takes part in the the Art Car Parade.

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