Mechanical Turk for scientific studies, designed for scientists.

San Francisco


Technologies Used

No stack info.

Project Team

Mark Nadal
Developer Designer Entrepreneur
Alex Vanston
Developer Entrepreneur

This team is looking for

Product Manager Investor


Problem: Scientists use Mechanical Turk for running scientific studies, cause it is cheap and works. But Mechanical Turk was not designed for doing scientific research. Problem: According to a scientific study, Mechanical Turk is 40% spam. Additionally, it gets fairly expensive to run studies on any Western country, as the pool of Western participants usually require a higher wage or are instead wasting their time on non-scientific viral Facebook personality quizzes. Problem: Results to this data, despite often being funded by public taxpayers, is locked behind journal pay walls. Science is not open, triggering the Aaron Swartz debacle. While martyrdom ought not condone suicide, his life spoke out against this injustice. Solution: Sciflick, a mashup of Mechanical Turk, Netflix, and those viral Facebook surveys. Sciflick enables scientists, after they get their IRB approval, to create scientific studies with conditions and controls. Through partnerships with iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, or Netflix, users can get free access to a movie in exchange for completing scientific studies. People usually watch movies together, so it prompts the watcher with a short link to share with the friends' phones in the room, or to Facebook. This is a five fold win, to the users, science, video services, Hollywood, and ourselves. Scientific results are published as open data, allowing other scientists to browse and fork the studies, Github style, to run as their own if they suspect biased control questions. Sciflick hosts all this, making us a "Big Data" company, of science. HACKATHON / MVP / DEMO: Fake Amazon page -> generate tracking URL to seed studies -> randomly load an available study -> complete study per control and conditions determined via our survey creator -> prompt a "see your results on facebook" -> redeem enough tracking tokens to get the free movie -> return Amazon movie page, it starts to play. STACK: AWS, NodeJS, MongoDB, Redis, jQuery, (Theory, Coalesce, Discrete). Why: The oligarchy of science has hit a sensational nerve with the hacker community, particularly over Aaron Swartz, people are seeking an answer and something must be done. Investors are dying to get their hands on profitable Big Data companies, and competitors like Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey, PollDaddy only provide an isolated piece, rather than integrating the whole flow together - plus their survey makers are not easy for configuring conditionals and controls. Because the MVP demo is just barely do-able within the hackathon, and it perfectly brings everything together to win the grand prize. (I mean hey, we need the money for our non-hackathon startups! :P )


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