Hackable Bike


City Science

Maggie Church 


To explore future mobility modes, the City Science group is working with Media Lab member company Panasonic to explore the use and potential adaptations of the popular MamaChari bikes.  Like other mobility modes, the MamaChari bikes have developed and adapted over the past decades.  Bikes for women first became popular during Japan’s economic boom in the 1980s when many households benefited from one income, and women were encouraged to stay home and take care of their children.  Women used bikes to quickly navigate their cities and make frequent trips to shops and schools, kids in tow. Even as women gradually entered the workforce in the 1990s and 2000s, the stereotype of the Japanese biking woman remained.  By 2008, electric assist bikes were introduced to the market, and again they targeted women with children as the primary users. Today MamaChari bikes are stable, secure and ubiquitous in Japan, yet they have yet to enter other global markets.  

The City Science group strives to understand current uses of the MamaChari and adapt the bike for new and future uses globally. Ideation workshops were completed in February and May 2018.

Learn more about the first workshop here: