HolidayBuyer's Guide

High-tech hubcap spins its wheels

Considering that so much technology is being pumped into automobiles, it had to pass that the lowly hubcap would one day get its time in the sun.

Car aficionados Keld van Schreven, 36, and Tom Hedges, 32, have come up with an LED device to create patterns, images, words and even animations within the wheels of your car while you drive.

 TireTagz's Batman LED product
Credit: TireTagz

Called TireTagz, the concept came from a technology originally developed to put even more advertising on Formula One racing cars.

As van Schreven and Hedges describe it: "The device is installed onto an alloy wheel, fixing safely within the center and a small reflector strip is attached magnetically onto the brake caliper. When the wheel rotates at speeds greater than 10 mph, the device activates. Every time it passes the strip on the caliper it flashes a series of 15 LEDs (light-emitting diodes) at a very high frequency. Through a process called "persistence of vision" a static image is produced within the wheel space, even though the wheel is turning at many revolutions per minute."

There are 16 preprogrammed images available, including skulls, Chinese characters and cruising slang. The company has even more available online that are transferred to the device via USB cable.

TireTagz is street-legal, according to the pair, because it uses road-legal amber LEDs. The flashing lights are also reported to not cause epileptic attacks.

The only downside, according to van Schreven and Hedges, is that TireTagz can be stolen. The devices are locked in an Allen key and specialist locking bolt, but they recommend removing the units after cruising.