John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
New Yorkers can mount this thing on their heads and never worry about finding a Citi Bike dock again.
Whoa, what's this – did one of the Daft Punk guys lose a helmet?
Actually, this blipping beaut is only tangentially art-related. Its practical function is to serve as an advanced steering system for New York's cyclists. Put it on your head, and the LEDs will guide you to the closest Citi Bike station. (All the other lights are there only for "visibility and crazy animation," according to the below makers' video.)
The miraculous rainbow-routing helmet was designed by Becky Stern of Adafruit Industries, a New York City electronics lab that's gotten the Wired treatment for its DIY inventions. The GPS-guided lighting system is easy to memorize: Blinkers on the left or right side of the browline tell you which way to turn, while a blue light means keep on pedaling forward and a red one means turn around. No lights at all mean you either ran out of battery power or are riding in the rain, which is a no-no because the circuits are not waterproof.
Carry the helmet around in your hands to find a bike station you didn't know about, or use it to scout a destination while riding in an unfamiliar neighborhood. For explorers who don't mind delegating their navigational abilities to the computers, this could be quite helpful: