Let's Build a Lab-on-Wheels for Science Education!

Q: How does one empower the public with cognitive science? A: By building a lab-on-wheels with a glowing brain on top.
Tyler Alterman
New York, New York
United States
3 Team Members

Brilliant work, everyone--we did it!

Check out the new Think Tank website at CogSciOnWheels.org


















*Scroll down for the names of our 150+ funders! Thank you guys! 

-Tyler Alterman, Project Lead (tyleralterman@gmail.com)

Sponsorships so far: Emotiv Lifesciences 

Press so far: Wired, SalonGOOD, NaturePacific StandardTEDxGramercy, David DiSalvo's Daily Brain, TechCommGeekMom, Science Is Beauty, Science Junkie, Structural Patterns, The Science of Reality, The Macaulay Messenger, CUNY Newswire, Indiegogo homepage

Why build a Think Tank?

Right now, there is a movement happening. It is based on the realization that the behavioral and brain sciences stand to improve lives.

  • As of this year, the Obama administration is considering a multi-billion dollar investment in building a map of the brain.

  • Cass Sunstein, co-author of Nudge (a famous book on the science of behavior-change) was given a top position at the White House.

  • There are a growing number of people like Dr. Pooja Agarwal, a public servant dedicated to improving classrooms and policy through cognitive science.

The Think Tank (TTT), as a lab-on-wheels and education station, will bring this movement to the public. 

The plan, the team

The plan.

TTT will be an art+science team-up between artists and scientists from Tyler Alterman's lab. Together we will transform a recycled box truck into a fully functioning lab with a glowing pink brain on top. The result: a literal and metaphorical vehicle for empowering the public with cognitive science.

Upon hitting the streets, TTT will:

  • Drive to elementary and high schools where mobile researchers will teach students about the science of the mind.
  • Invite citizens aboard to participate in studies and teach them how cognitive science can improve their lives.
  • Collaborate with world-renowned psychologists and neuroscientists to deliver sidewalk talks, taking the public on their explorations into human thought and behavior.

Where will your money go? All $10,900 will go straight into buying the box truck and outfitting it.

Want more info? Check out Tyler's PDF proposal (slightly out-of date).

How will it look? Kind of like this, but bigger:

The team.

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 8.20.50 PM

Tyler Alterman // Think Tank Creator

As a child born into a bloodline of New York detectives, Tyler aspired to continue the family tradition, but as a different type of investigator: less Bogart than Boyle—a scientific detective. Though this passion became fairly doused by the "fact-memorizing" of high school science, he rediscovered his love once he began actually doing science as a student of CUNY's Macaulay Honors College. One of his hopes for The Think Tank will be to show kids and adults the type of science that isn't about memorizing lists of facts, but about the process of answering questions in fun, creative, and thoughtful ways.

A Goldsmith Scholar, JK Watson Fellow, and Café Bustello imbiber, Tyler has combined his cognitive science and communications background to help raise $300K creating campaigns with DonorsChoose.org, write a book on environmental psychology with Columbia's Earth Institute for Environmental Sustainability, and design public health communications under the president of Yale. Having worked in five cog sci labs, he plans to pursue his Ph.D. after a gap year spent making The Think Tank a success.


Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 8.21.27 PM

Dr. Daniel Casasanto // Scientist Advisor

Using methods from neuroscience, psycholinguistics, and cognitive psychology, Daniel investigates how different cultures, languages, and bodies enable cognitive diversity. He received his Ph.D. from MIT, did his post-doctoral training at Stanford, and spent three years on the Senior Scientific Staff at the Max Planck Institute in Nijmegen, NL. He is currently a professor of psychology at the New School for Social Research. Tyler works in his Experience and Cognition Lab!


Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 8.21.35 PM

Christine Alaimo // Art Director

In addition to her roles as a cognitive neuroscience researcher, Christine is owner of Confectionary Therapy, a cake-making business run in support of Autisim Spectrum Disorders. Having just gotten her M.A. in Special Education, Christine hopes to continue her studies in a doctorate program. She currently researches how autism influences the brain’s functional connectivity. Both Christine and Tyler are alumni of the incredible Walkabout program.


Funders thus far:

Brian Kateman + Olaf Woldan (my film-maker friend) + Joe Eastman + Chaz Firestone + Mary Young + Alane Celeste + Molly Rose Ávila + Colby Minifie + Mary Gifford-Smith + Joseph Ugoretz + Rose Hendricks + Olga Shcheglova + Cailin Barrett-Bressack Michelle Cuozzo + "agoldenroad" + Ariel Abrahams + David DiLillo (my photographer friend) + Ché Lucero + Kat Atterbury + Ellie Horowitz + Caroline Craig + "onemanna" + Kevin Jordan + Jennifer Mangels + Naseeba R. + Claire Clairon + Mom Alterman + David Pereplyotchik + Mike Young + Emily Thetford-Smith + Vivienne Baldassare + "hopkinsdf" + Nolwen Cosmao (thanks roomie!) + Sarah Hailey + Vanessa Iaffa + Paulette Young + Mike Lamb + Ariana Tobias + Crichton Atkinson (& her Bushwick art collective, Nothing Space) + Autumn Payne + "ricardo13" + Ann Kirschner + Richard Aufrichtig + Ilya Altshteyn + John Clark + Sandra Kear + Teresa Gonczy + Phil Ponce De Leon + Laura Deering + Michael Mclean + Matthew Routh + Ami Dar (& his incredible Idealist.org) + Brad Swain + "ric.payne" + my dad + "grapefulminds" + "syd810y" + Ina Saltz (her/our/but mainly her book just came out!) + Charlotte Hendrickson + Ayo Oti + Dan Feldman + Joshua Davis + Aaron Hamilin + Danielle Villegas + Matthew Alhonte + Joe Eastman (again) + Gloria Cavallaro + Damon Abraham + tetrimbath + maljhalls + Chelsea Alterman (my sis) + Amal Elbakhar + Chiara Forestieri + Peter Casas + Ben Kleiman + Mike Howard + Roberto Botini + eschomnu + David Manier + Ian Gallywag + Mary Young + Myrto Mylopoulos + Havarah Zawoluk + Adora Wilson-Eye + Imani Tucker + Gary Schwartz + Amber Watts + Lindsey Freer + Sam Mcnerney + Cindy Lozito + psaygin + Dorothy Sonnenburg + Philp Ahlqvist + Dawn Alterman + Amber Baysinger + Josh Brown + Jeff Zacks + Morton Ann Gernsbacher + David Higgins + James R. Pomerantz + Ofri Felder + Tan Le (Owner/CEO of the amazing Emotiv Lifesciences) + Lisa Brundage + Leo Bierman + burrd331 + Jenna Peet + Ryan Bruss + Lucia Gaviria + Lin.mary.moon + Lisa Anderson + Marcia Comoletti + Blake Rubin + Lynn Luckow + Cindy Ellsmore + constructive + Joyohlheiser + John Palumbo (Check out Big Heads!) + Denise Weller + Angrew Cahil + Andrienne Moss + Mark Stokes + Hasan Bhatti + Carol Rommel + bkarlin + Charlotte Weiskittel + Chelsea Power + C/O OnlineMBAPage.com + all the anonymous donors!

Attn funders: If you'd like me to link to your page above, please message me at tyleralterman@gmail.com!


Thank you for your support.

Please get the word out so we can put cognitive science on the street this fall!

Share link: http://igg.me/at/CogSciOnWheels

Happy birthday, cognitive science

Find This Campaign On
raised by 187 people in 1 month
158% funded
No time left
$10,900 USD goal
Fixed Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on March 20, 2013
Select a Perk
  • $1USD
    I AM FOND OF TTT (Level 1)

    Free recipe for a neuroscience-themed cocktail. Make your next party a hit!

    27 claimed
  • $23USD
    I QUITE LIKE TTT (Level 2)

    Inspire your mind! Get a custom-designed poster containing a curated list of the top five, scientifically-validated ways to start boosting your brain today. [+reward #1]

    49 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $50USD
    I LOVE TTT (Level 4)

    INSIDE NYC OPTION: Come celebrate! Receive a free ticket to join Tyler for edutainment at the upcoming Think Tank soiree near Lincoln Center--headlined by New York Times-featured neuroscience rock band The Amygdaloids. OUTSIDE NYC OPTION: A custom-designed perceptual illusion to hang on your wall and impress house-guests. Signed by graphic designer, Tyler Alterman (you've heard of him?). (Limited stock) [+rewards #1, 2, & 3]

    29 out of 68 claimed
    Estimated delivery: March 2013
  • $75USD
    I AM A TTT HERO (Level 6)

    Autographed copy of the new EP by the Amygdaloids, a rock band made up entirely of neuroscientists. [+any other rewards you want]

    1 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $100USD
    I AM A TTT CHAMPION (Level 7)

    Exclusive, all-access pass to the Imagine Science Film Festival in NYC.

    0 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013
  • $3,500USD
    I AM A TTT SAVIOR (Level 8)

    I (Tyler) will personally fly out to wherever you reside to shake your hand, buy you dinner, and deliver your custom-engraved model of The Think Tank. Your name will be listed on The Think Tank webpage as one of its key donors. [+any other rewards you want].

    1 out of 5 claimed
    Estimated delivery: April 2013


    You will cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony, and be the first aboard The Think Tank. [+any other rewards you want + Tyler's eternal gratitude for making his dream a reality + the satisfaction that you helped change the world through science literacy].

    1 out of 1 claimed
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