Bike Hackers – 10 Craziest Models
Mobile Broadcast Unit With Laser Tag
The Graffiti Research Lab is known for its off-the-wall hacks, but the Mobile Broadcast Unit, or MBU, is the group's most ambitious yet. The $10,000 multimedia tricycle is used to project videos and on-the-fly artwork onto buildings several stories high. Software run on the onboard laptop lets people "draw" on buildings using a 60-milliwatt green laser pointer. The light is tracked by a swivel-mounted camera and then beamed onto skyscrapers with a projector. All this equipment is strategically packed on a front-loaded trike and powered by a gas generator. James Powderly and Evan Roth, founders of Graffiti Research Lab, made the three-wheeler to protest the public communication gap created by corporate advertisers. "With an MBU anyone can say something on the scale of the ads in Times Square," says Powderly. Taking back public space, though, can be dangerous. While pedaling back to lab headquarters, Powderly blasted MP3s through the bike's two 460-watt speakers. While picking songs for the playlist, he rode directly into a pothole. The bike flipped and the whole unit came crashing down on him, open laptop and all. "The laptop actually stayed Velcroed to its platform, and when we righted the thing I hit the space bar, and the music started right back up where we left off."