Founded in 2016, the Local Sense Lab operates a sensor-activated “lab” space in the middle of Downtown Crossing, Boston’s densest retail and commercial zone. The Lab was formed as a research collaboration between three MIT startups specializing in sensor integration (Bitsence), data integration (Categorical Informatics), and urban planning (Supernormal), with support from the City of Boston Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics.


Local Sense was founded on two beliefs: first, that the hyperlocal data of how people live their lives is incredibly valuable, and second, that this data must be used to engage—to get the most out of sensor data, we must connect it to feedback loops with citizens, customers, and developers. We believe that this hyperlocal data can change cities, change businesses, and change lives.

Our mission is to capture hyperlocal data and to connect that data to feedback loops with citizens, customers, and developers.

To fulfill our mission, we are piloting a scalable technology for sensor and data integration, while building citizen and stakeholder support for future work. Along the way, we hope to increase local engagement around hyperlocal sites, make it easier to deploy new smart-city technologies, and help coordinate current and future public-private partnerships in the world of IoT.

We would like to thank the National Science Foundation, the National Institute for Standards and Technology, and US-Ignite for their role in making this project possible. We are a Global Cities Team Challenge Action Cluster.