How Does the Brain Respond to the City? Tech Demo and Conversation presented by Van Alen Institute and Columbia University GSAPP Cloud Lab

What grabs our attention in the congested city?

The latest research in neuroscience is revealing fascinating things about human perception and the relationship between what we see and what we experience. And with inexpensive but high-powered tools such as electroencephalography-based (EEG) brain-computer interfaces (BCI) now increasingly accessible, it’s getting easier to tap into the signals underlying attention, stress, and our processing of the world.

Join Van Alen Institute and Columbia University GSAPP Cloud Lab for an interactive tech demo of BCI research projects, followed by a dialogue among designers, technologists, biomedical engineers, neuroscientists, and environmental psychologists exploring what brain data tells us about our experience of the city. Can new technologies deepen our understanding of how people relate to place and improve how we design cities?

In advance of this event, we invite you to join us with Cloud Lab on Sunday, April 27 to experience brain-computer interface technology for yourself. This research workshop will use mobile EEG technology to record the brain’s response as we explore Brooklyn’s DUMBO neighborhood. Register for the April 27 research workshop at

Your brainwave data will be aggregated into a spectacular visualization produced by Cloud Lab and presented on May 13. Other project demos will include OpenBCI, a low-cost, programmable, open-source EEG platform; and MindRider, a bike helmet that translates EEG feedback into an embedded LED display. Drinks will be served after the conversation.

Conversation participants: Mark Collins, Director, Cloud Lab, Columbia University’s GSAPP; Josue Diaz, Designer, MindRider; Arlene Ducao, Chief, MindRider; Toru Hasegawa, Director, Cloud Lab; Dave Jangraw, Neuroscientist and Biomedical Engineer, Columbia University; Ilias Koen, Builder and Artist, MindRider; Joel Murphy, Co-Founder & President, OpenBCI; Conor Russomanno, Co-Founder & CEO, OpenBCI; Nancy Wells, Associate Professor at the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University.


Event Details:

  • When: 

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014
    07:00 pm

  • Where: 

    ISSUE Project Room
    22 Boerum Place
    Brooklyn, New York

  • More information: 

    Event website.

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