MindRider: A Bike Helmet That Maps Your Best Route
Ride better with MindRider, a helmet that tracks your mind’s performance while you bike. Share your rides to make for safer streets.
What is MindRider?
Originally developed at MIT, MindRider is a new helmet that shows, in real time, how your rides, movement, and location engage your mind. The MindRider app maps and tracks your engagement, and allows you to share your maps with others. These maps provide quantified insight that empower you to maximize your riding experience, and they are a great resource for riding communities and street advocacy.
As Featured In...
MindRider has been featured in The New York Times, MSNBC, Discovery Channel Daily Planet, Fast Company, Wired, Shape Magazine, CNN HLN, Boston Herald, PRI's Studio 360, WGBH, BostInno, Make, Discovery News, GizMag, KGW-NBC, WNYC, and many more.
Who can use MindRider?
We built the original MindRider for cyclists and have tested it with commuters, beginners, and avid riders. Recently, we’ve tested MindRider with skaters, as well. Josue (daily commuter), Alex (new cyclist), and Julia (skater & rollerblader) all talk about their MindRiding experience in our video. We’ve also received inquiries from para-gliders, triathletes, equestrians, climbers, and skiers, just to name a few. MindRider is CPSC and CE certified.
MindRides with a Mission.
- MindRide with a friend: Back the MindRider with a buddy, and we’ll help you plan and publish your first route so you can get the most insight from your mindride.
- MindRide with your group: Back the MindRider with 9 or more fellow riders, and we will plan and publish your collective map, and we’ll also advocate this map to your town's officials.
- MindRide with your town: If your town hits 40 MindRiders, we will organize a MindRide event in your town, and promote it to your local press. We’ll also reach out to our national and international press contacts.
MindRider How-To: The Helmet
- Smart helmet with BCI & BLE
- Final mass: 390 grams or less
- BCI provided by NeuroSky
- Small, color-changing light gives real-time mind feedback
- Unique BMX-style shell
- Adjustable foam inserts for adult sizes S, M, L
- Made in USA
- CPSC & CE certified
- iPhone 4S or later
- iPad 3 or later
- BLE-enabled Android devices
MindRider How-To: The App
The MindRider App is an application suite, for mobile devices and web browsers, that maps all your MindRides. As you can see below from the Discovery Channel video of Lucas Cochran's ride every MindRIder map has its pure green "Sweetspots" of relaxation, and its pure red "Hotspots" of focused concentration. Riders have examined their "mind-maps" and have seen how Sweetspots and Hotspots can be influenced by the rhythm of the road, pedestrian and vehicular traffic, and social interactions of many kinds. This quantifiable insight provides you the opportunity to challenge, enjoy and maximize your experiences.
Josue, our experienced rider, uses MindRider to turn his commute into a kind of mind-training game. After reviewing his MindRider maps and learning which routes have the most Sweetspots and Hotspots, he often challenges himself to relax his mind and turn his Hotspot-heavy routes into Sweetspots all the way from home to work.
MindRider How-To: System as Service
You can examine your MindRider maps, share them with your friends, and even (optionally) share them with your community. These maps have implications not only for individual riders, but for “smart” and “green” cities incorporating new kinds of sensor data into analysis and planning. Advocates for street safety have also expressed keen interest in using community MindRider maps.
For instance, in our hometown of New York, the new mayor has launched a "Vision Zero" initiative, inspired by similar plans in Europe, which aims for streets free of traffic fatalities and serious injuries. MindRider maps can provide an additional layer of quantification to help us understand where we feel those Hotspots. We're mind-mapping our own local streets of Brooklyn, block-by-block, to produce new kinds of heat-maps for MindRider users, and to provide new insights for all riders.
MindRider's Main Makers
The MindRider project is led by Arlene Ducao and Ilias Koen. Arlene is the chief instigator, inventor, and designer, while Ilias is the chief builder, programmer, and artist. In addition to DuKorp (MindRider's new parent company), Arlene and Ilias have led The DuKode Studio, a small design firm focused on spatial and scientific visualization. Their first startup, Hugebrow, won a National Science Foundation award in 2009. Prior to that, they both worked in the Science Bulletins group at the American Museum of Natural History.
In 2013, Josue Diaz III became MindRider's main rider, social media guru, and soft-sensor maker. A knitwear designer at Theory, Josue joined the MindRider team through an Eyebeam's Computational Fashion Honorary Fellowship, and has helped guide MindRider's design and branding.
Vanessa Mejia has been an electrical engineering intern on MindRider since January. She came to the team through the Brooklyn Tech Triangle Internship Program. She's helped design and assemble MindRider circuits.
Invented at MIT, Developed in NYC.
In 2011, Arlene took a sabbatical from DuKode to study at the MIT Media Lab. Inspired by an opportunity in 2011 to showcase work for the MIT Media Lab sponsors, she quickly conceived and built the first MindRider helmet. After a run of user interest and press coverage, including the Wired UK article above, Ilias encouraged Arlene to re-initiate work on the MindRider, which has its roots in DuKode's 2010 bike helmet project Lumenhattio.
In 2013 we relaunched the MindRider project and transitioned it from MIT to NYC. We added GPS and data storage, so that the mind data could be mapped afterward. After conducting user studies on MindRider’s ergonomics, we also re-oriented the helmet’s brain-state indicator lights toward the rider (rather than toward the motorist, as in the original prototype).
In 2014, we accelerated R&D to make the dozen MindRiders you see in the video. We 3D printed several prototypes, added Bluetooth to the system so that mind-mapping could take place in real time, expanded the mobile app, molded and cast plastic multiples of the helmet shell, and developed our own circuits and sensors from scratch. We are now ready to bring MindRider to you.
Design with You in Mind.
We love the MindRider style we've created and have several working prototypes, but we welcome feedback from our backers on the following design decisions:
- Battery: do backers want a rechargeable helmet, or are replaceable batteries preferred? Currently we use 3.7 V rechargeable lithium polymer batteries, for a battery life of 10-24 continuous hours.
- Ear sensor: the ear sensor is used to help remove noise from the brain wave signal. What form factor do backers want for this sensor?
- Helmet shell: we love the future-forward BMX style of this helmet shell, but we know backers have all kinds of style. Also on the to-do list: remove overhangs (for mass thermoforming) and add ventilation holes.
As we get closer to making these final decisions, we’ll reach out to our Kickstarter backers for their input.
More Who's Who
MindRIder's team also includes Natalia Villegas (marketing and communications), Shay Krasinski (graphics, UI, and apparel), Tania van Bergen (power riding and community outreach), and Rob Hemsley (electrical engineering). Chris Willard (software development and audio engineering), Ben Tudhope (director of photography), and Libi Zhang (electrical engineering) have been invaluable to the MindRider effort. And thanks to Hello World Communications for their great gear, audio engineer Tom Myers, and Josh Woodward, who composed the song in our main video, "Crazy Glue."
MindRider's advisers and supporters include Joi Ito and Dave Strand of the E14 fund, a new startup program for MIT Media Lab projects. Joi also directs the MIT Media Lab, and has been a great adviser on many fronts. Stanley Yang, Johnny Liu, and their team at NeuroSky have answered many of Arlene's and Ilias's questions about accessible BCI. Arlene's Media Lab adviser Henry Holtzman (now head of Samsung's NExD Lab) was a great champion of MindRider in its early days, and helped Arlene learn how to convey MindRider's story. As a BCI/HCI researcher and MIT postdoc (now Drexel CS professor), Erin Solovey helped our team get its bearings in the face of so many new consumer-grade BCI projects. Through her social cycling studies, MIT researcher Sandra Richter pushed MindRider to become a connected device for novice cyclists. Dan O'Sullivan and Luke DuBois of NYU gave MindRider some great new opportunities and resources after Arlene moved back to New York. Champion movie-maker and MIT HCI researcher Dhairya Dand created a catchy MindRider video just before the project was relaunched. Catherine Cramer and her team at New York Hall of Science provided great support and feedback as part of NYSCI’s “Maker’s Brain” initative.
We'd also like to thank Ben Cohen, Sue Schaffner, and Nikki Arendt of Gowanus Studio Space, where our studio is physically housed; as well as Eyebeam's Paul Amitai, Marko Tandefeldt, Jamie O'Shea, and Roddy Schrock. Ron Citkowski shared with us excellent legal advice on preparing a hardware project.
With the exception of a few parts that aren't available domestically, MindRider will be sourced and manufactured in the USA. We have connected with and developed price quotes for the entire MindRider production pipeline, and have paid special attention to New York State manufacturers for our custom designs, particularly the soft sensors and plastic helmet shell. NeuroSky manufactures the EEG chip in MindRIder, and it has been an incredible adviser and advocate to our development team.
MindRider is an innovative new wearable technology, but its safety is based on cycling helmet constructions that have been tested and CPSC-approved time and again. Our initial product release is inspired by BMX and skating designs, and we've chosen an international manufacturer of polystyrene liners that are CPSC-approved at 140 grams per liner.
MindRider will be assembled in Brooklyn, in our own facility with our own QA/QC (quality assurance and control), and the final MindRider will be CPSC-certified in the U.S. We are not against manufacturing and sourcing internationally, but QA/QC, as well as fair and equitable labor policies, are of utmost importance to us, so our plan is to keep the initial production run as local as possible and personally oversee all assembly. With future production runs after 2015, we may travel to international sources to personally oversee and transition the production pipeline.
Risks and challenges
Scaling, scaling, scaling! This tends to be the main challenge with hardware projects-- what is affordable and functional at the prototype phase is often not so at the small-scale manufacturing phase. This also applies to manufacturing in large volume.
We've done our research, not just on the risks and challenges of scaling, but on the risks and challenges faced by the pioneering Kickstarter hardware projects that have come before us. Most Kickstarter projects succeed at mid-volume levels (500-2000 units), and we have a detailed production plan for this kind of manufacturing. We have also allotted a comfortable production period (18 months) to execute this plan. If there is a backer demand for a larger volume or a significant design change, we ask for your patience as we adjust our production plan and execution period.
We also have incredible resources and mentors through MIT and NYU, and we are prepared to do our best through these resources. Arlene and Ilias, the lead makers on this project, have worked together for more than 10 years, and feel confident that they can lead a production team to release a meaningful, functional, stylish, MindRider v.1.0.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (31 days)