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A bike helmet that doubles as a stress-o-meter

bike_riderMany of those who ride their bike to work do so because of the health, financial and psychological benefits. While it's clear that commuting on two wheels can help you stay fit and save money, a new high-tech helmet that measures brain activity shows bicycling may not be as stress-free as you believe.

The helmet, developed by the MIT MediaLab, is equipped with an LED display that lights up  green when you are calm, yellow when you are slightly irritated, and red when you are sleepy or anxious. If your stress level turns to panic, the lights flash red. The display is powered by built-in sensors and an electrode that translates electroencephalogram (EEG) feedback.

Dubbed MindRider, the latest version of the helmet maps your stress level to your route. Fast Company reports:

The first prototypes of the helmet just had colored lights, but the GPS adds new potential. "Now that it is a connected device, we definitely see its power in yielding insights over time," [Arlene Ducao, a master's candidate at MIT's MediaLab] explains. "Urban and transportation planners can look at the data of many people and use that for transportation planning--things like bike lanes or bike-share programs."

As a large group of people start to use the device, it can also be used for navigation. "You can access the data of others to help navigate you in a way that's potentially less stressful, potentially more relaxing and more safe," she says.

Previously: Now that's using your head: Bike-helmet monitor alerts emergency contacts after a crash, University leaders raise awareness about the importance of bike helmets and Modest increases in bike ridership could yield major economic, health benefits
Photo by Roland Tanglao

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