Mental Work: Showroom Opening

Join us for the opening of the first showroom dedicated to machines operated by worker’s minds.

Graphic design elements by Joël Boucheteil.

Event Details


swissnex San Francisco
Pier 17, Suite 800, San Francisco, California 94111 United States


May 18, 2018 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-08:00)



Employing a revolutionary technology developed at EPFL, Mental Work is the first showroom in the world to be operated exclusively by workers’ minds, juxtaposing the industrial revolution against the possibly imminent cognitive revolution — a symbiosis of human ­and machine.

By directly controlling the machinery with their brainwaves, workers simultaneously become the labor and the product, psychologically decoupling themselves from their bodies, past experiences, and pre-conceived ideas about the future: the first factory to mass produce philosophers.

The three Mental Work co-founders, chief business officer Michael Mitchell, chief scientific officer José Millán, and chief visionary officer Jonathon Keats, invite you to experience the scientific and conceptual elements during the showcase’s opening ceremony.

Individualized 60-minute experiences of the showroom will be available by appointment from May 20 to July 28, 2018. Reserve your place in the Cognitive Revolution at


6:30pm — doors open
7:00pm — opening of Mental Work showroom
7:30pm — panel with Mental Work co-founders
9:00pm — doors close


Jonathon Keats
Acclaimed as a “poet of ideas” by The New Yorker and a “multimedia philosopher-prophet” by The Atlantic, Jonathon Keats is an artist, writer and experimental philosopher based in San Francisco and Northern Italy. His conceptually-driven interdisciplinary projects explore all aspects of society through science and technology. In recent years, he has installed a camera with a thousand-year-long exposure – documenting the long-term effects of climate change – at Arizona State University; opened a photosynthetic restaurant serving gourmet sunlight to plants at the Crocker Art Museum; exhibited extraterrestrial abstract artwork decoded from Arecibo Observatory radiotelescope data at the Judah L. Magnes Museum; and applied quantum mechanics to banking – coaxing money into a quantum superposition to be shared by everyone – at Rockefeller Center.

Dr. José del R. Millán
Dr. José del R. Millán joined the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2009 to help establish the Center for Neuroprosthetics. He holds the Defitech Foundation Chair and directs the Brain-Machine Interface Laboratory. He received a PhD in computer science from the Technical University of Catalonia, Barcelona, in 1992. Previously, he was a research scientist at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission in Ispra (Italy) and a senior researcher at the Idiap Research Institute in Martigny (Switzerland). He has also been a visiting scholar at the Universities of Berkeley and Stanford as well as at the International Computer Science Institute in Berkeley. Dr. Millán has made several seminal contributions to the field of brain-machine interfaces (BMI), especially based on electroencephalogram (EEG) signals. Most of his achievements revolve around the design of brain-controlled robots. He has received several recognitions for these seminal and pioneering achievements, notably the IEEE-SMC Nobert Wiener Award in 2011 and elevation to IEEE Fellow in 2017. During the last years Dr. Millán is prioritizing the translation of BMI to end-users suffering from motor disabilities. As an example of this endeavor, his team won the first Cybathlon BMI race in October 2016. In parallel, he is designing BMI technology to offer new interaction modalities for able-bodied people.

Michael Mitchell
Michael MitchellMichael Mitchell was born in New York State in 1979 and is a dramaturge and cultural producer living in Switzerland. Working at the crossroads of film, theater and installation, his his documentary film, Beyond Bernie: A Campaign of Their Own (2017) has been in competition in at several international film festivals (Visions du Réel, Locarno Film Festival, Karlovy Vary). In 2014, Mitchell launched the first communications agency dedicated to interactive multimedia science communication in Switzerland. As Director and Co-founder of Mental Work, he brought the conceptualization, the neuro-engineering and the production teams together to enable one of the largest public neuroscience experiments in history.



The swissnex San Francisco edition of Mental Work is made possible thanks to the generosity of the Bertarelli Foundation, which tackles some the biggest challenges in neuroscience and marine conservation. Based in Switzerland, it supports research at Harvard Medical School and Campus Biotech, a neuroscience center in Geneva established by the Bertarelli family, the Wyss Foundation, the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), and the University of Geneva. Part of the Swiss Touch campaign, Mental Work receives additional support from Wearable Sensing and the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.


Mental Work


Event Photos