Brainwaves, Bio-Data, and Diversity

Long Form


Much of the interest in MindRider stemmed from Spencer Lowell's great photo in Wired UK. Since it came out, many people have sent me great comments, saying things along the lines of
"Women represent!" or
"POCs (People of Color) represent!" or
"Filipinos represent!"

This has meant a lot. Women and people of color are still underrepresented in both tech and cycling domains, and I've come to think of the MindRider photo, and the ensuing response, as a personal counterbalance to the aggressive, intolerant, exclusionary discourse that still plagues these domains, and especially plagues the startup sector that overlaps both. Some people call this "brogrammer talk." I've witnessed it in my time at MIT, and while I've noticed that most people don't talk or think this way, the loudness of the intolerant minority can have insidious, stressful effects on the rest of the community.


Based on brainwave data collected by commuters and professional riders, MindRider shows you which neighborhoods, blocks, and places affect your quality of life. The MindRider wearable is a product of DuKorp, an MIT Media Lab spinoff which, as part of the BMW-sponsored Urban-X program, will run a study of 50 professional cyclists, couriers, commuters, and other riders in May 2016. The riders’ brainwave data will be part of a new NYC Quality of Life Map, and we’re looking to speak with delivery-oriented companies to explore how the data could be useful for street logistics.

In this workshop, we’ll discuss how MindRider works in its community, but more importantly, I’ll then distribute the gear for participants to try so we can go out, collect some data, and analyze the map together.

Speaking experience

I am quite experienced; see my other proposal for more info!


Leave a private comment to organizers about this proposal