Kickstarter is place where dreams go to become reality ... and to be mocked by the Geekend.
You bet. Introducing the MindRider, a product right out of MIT's Media Lab.
The MindRider is a smart bicycle helmet that helps you know exactly what you're getting out of your ride. Sensors mounted in the helmet monitor your brain activity to determine how relaxed or engaged you are on your ride. The helmet maps your brain activity in real time relative to your route to tell you later on which kinds of ride areas are optimal for you.
For instance, as you ride through the park, it could determine that you were relaxed and happy, but while you were riding through dangerous city traffic, you might be nervous. As you go by beautiful buildings, you might be engaged in the ride as you enjoy the scenery. Eventually, as it maps these feelings onto specific spaces using a smartphone app, the app can tell you where to go to get the kind of ride you're looking for. Want a relaxing ride? It can steer you to nearby places you've enjoyed before. Looking to be inspired or excited? It can steer you to those places as well.
Presumably, as the helmet becomes more sophisticated (prototypes already do everything described above), it could function as an exercise device or a safety device. If it sees you're distracted or agitated, it might be able to get you off the busy streets or remind you to pay attention before you have an accident. Eventually, it could be used for other activities as well, helping you map out your stress levels throughout your day.
One of the potential long-term goals could be to collect the information anonymously and see how city layouts affect way of life or how public spaces could be better designed to improve well-being.
Of course, there's one major problem: No one would want to wear the dorky hat if not on a bicycle or similar vehicle. The developer would need to reduce the bulkiness of the helmet to make it a sensor you can wear comfortably while walking or driving.
But MindRider has potential to help design better cities. It likely won't get there, as it has attracted a little under $12,000 of the requested $100,000 in funding. MindRider has only a week to meet its goal.
What do you think of our little tiptoe through Kickstarter? I didn't get a chance to talk about the Geek cookbook or the card game to help you learn to code. Or dozens more wonderful and crazy projects. Would you buy any of these products? Would you fund any of them? Have you ever funded anything on Kickstarter? If so, what did you fund? If not, why not? Comment below.
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David has been writing on business and technology for over 10 years and was most recently Managing Editor at Enterpriseefficiency.com. Before that he was an Assistant Editor at MIT Sloan Management Review, where he covered a wide range of business topics including IT, ... View Full Bio