A bike helmet can now do more than protect your brain—it can read it too! New armor for your noggin called MindRider features the ability to physically compute just how sweet or stressful a ride may be and, ultimately, help you better mentally prepare for the activity.
“I'm a pretty avid cyclist in NYC, but it took me a while to get there," says Arlene Ducao, founder and CEO of DuKorp, the Brooklyn-based wearable technology company behind MindRider. "That's a big part of the story. I wanted to get over being intimidated by riding in traffic."
Ducao began devising this helmet system to chronicle emotions during a ride while studying at the MIT Media Lab in 2011. Together with the company's CTO, Ilias Koen, they put together a one-of-a-kind helmet with embedded EEG (electroencephalography) and BCI (brain-computer interface) sensors to keep track of your mind's engagement levels. An LED light at the front of the helmet flashes a range of colors, from green (calm) to red (intensely focused), indicating your state of mind in real-time. The helmet simultaneously sends these results via Bluetooth to a mobile app that then creates a “Mind Map” of the ride, which you can analyze afterward.
“The map shows you these brain spots of meditation where you're having your best moments on the ride,” Ducao explains. “When you have that kind of data, you can learn how to ride better. If you can anticipate when you need to be more focused then, perhaps over time, you can work on becoming more meditative through a once-challenging area.”
MindRider helmets are currently made for cyclists and skaters, but skiers, paragliders, rock climbers, and equestrians can use them, too. The company hopes to raise $200,000 via Kickstarter by July 10th so they can start commercially producing and selling MindRider by the end of 2015. Once the Kickstarter is complete, the helmet design will be finalized. One caveat: You might want to turn off the LED light if you plan a bike date. Ducao confirms that if you're concentrating on your date's words (or sexy lips), the light might turn red or yellow, giving you away.
Click here to donate to MindRider's Kickstarter. If you pledge $190 now, you're guaranteed a helmet when they become available in December 2015. Then tell us: What do you think of this idea? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @Shape_Magazine!