Technology with attitude

MindRider bike helmet flashes the cyclist’s emotions, maps where you are stressed

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When riding your bike, helmets and lights are a safety must. But what if you could enhance your urban survival chances with a clever twist? Meet MindRider, the smart helmet that offers some extra bike safety by connecting the helmet to a brain sensor, so you can show off your brain state in lights!

The MindRider story starts with Arlene Ducao, a small business owner in Brooklyn and recent grad of the MIT Media Lab. She develops creative computing systems that examine our environment, with a particular focus on biking, headgear, visualization, and mapping.

Using a NeuroSky MindSet, Ducao came up with the MindRider, a modified bicycle helmet that reads the brain’s electroencephalogram (EEG) feedback and translates it into an embedded LED display that allows cyclists to broadcast their emotions and level of concentration without the need for hand controls. Green lights mean that the cyclist is focused, with low stress levels. Yellow means slight agitation, red signals indicate high stress, and when the red lights are flashing, it show that the rider is in a state of panic.

The latest version of the MindRider is also equipped with GPS in order to log geo-located brain activity data. This is being used for a social cycling study called “Quantifying the Level of Perceived Safety when Biking in Pairs”. According to the MindRider website these maps completed with brain-data can reveal previously unobserved relationships between the cyclist and the environment, and can bring unprecedented potentials for personal fitness, urban planning, and safety analysis.

Mindrider_BCI_helmet_map

The geo-location feature is also beneficial to the whole cycling community. If everyone adds brain-activity data to street maps, the maps will show the whole community’s experience on a given route, and the maps will become a useful tool to plan not just a shorter, but a safer ride.

Although MindRider is not on the market yet, all of us are invited to help shape the future of the smart helmet. By choosing what type of MindRider you want, you can earn a chance to win a MindRider in 2014.

We will definitely keep an eye on this project. Ducao rides her bike almost every day and she claims that this handsfree device could make riding much safer. We agree with her, do you? Tell us in the comments!