Blindspin 4: How much will test subjects need to sweat?


We can now estimate the amount of sweat and pain that test subjects for the Blindspin project would need to endure (see project page). The experiment will require about 90 minutes, and approximately five kilometers of cycling, mostly at slow to medium speed. The cycling will happen in Turku, near either Raunistula or Itäharju. (Only self-experimentation will be done in Jyväskylä and Toronto). [Edit: Latest maps added]

The exact details will still evolve as we self-experiment.  The most boring part — driving back and forth on a straight empty road — is actually by far the most important. It will tell us what the absolute best-case scenario is. Let’s say that we find that a person can safely drive blind for a maximum of N seconds in such a case. That means that for any realistic scenario, with a curved road, or even a tiny amount of traffic, the safe time will be far, far shorter.

Finding suitable straight tracks is problematic, since so many safety features need to be considered (low traffic, no intersections, good quality surface, isolated from road). The search is still ongoing, but so far the following tracks have been found that are definitely usable.

In practice, we have two loci around which the tests could be performed: a western one near Raunistula, and an eastern one near Itäharju. Itäharju seems to be be by far the better area, but volunteers might be easier to find in the Raunistula region. We will make the final decision later.



Estimating the effect of track curvature is much trickier, but it can be done relatively quickly and easily. We will simply have the volunteer cycle through several  curved paths. Our expectation (and experience from self-tests) is that if there is even a moderate amount of curvature, the cyclists will hit a wall, so to speak. It will be extremely difficult to drive blind for even a very short time. This is different from car driving, where the effect of curvature is linear and not particularly strong. For cycling, we would expect a strongly non-linear response.

Best identified tracks, western area.


Best identified tracks, eastern area. This will almost certainly be the area where the tests are centralized.


If any volunteer is willing to drive more than the minimum (say over several days or weeks), it would be highly appreciated. The more data we get, the better.

If you feel you might be interested in being a test subject in July/August, please contact Jakke.Makela{at}

See also Blindspin project page.