A couple weeks backs, we took a look at The Lucid Dreamer, a wearable device that relies on administering current stimulation to induce lucid dreams (dreams in which you know you are dreaming, and can thus make deliberate changes to the characters and the environment). Unfortunately, the Kickstarter campaign was canceled due to tests that showed that the product needed to be further fine-tuned in order to reliably and consistently produce the expected results. Either way, the idea is pretty catchy. If you are intent on giving self-aware dreaming a shot, not to worry; there are a host of different technological innovations that exist to help out. Here’s a look at a few.
The Aurora Dreamband is a headband that emits lights and sounds in order to make wearers experience lucidity while dreaming; some research has shown both of these stimuli have been shown to be effective triggers for lucid dreams. Aurora comes with an app that allows users to customize the sounds and lights the device emits during the experience; varying these can lead to vastly different kinds of dreams. The app also comes with an alarm clock to ensure that users wake up during light phases of sleep.
The iBand + consists of two components: a brain activity-sensing headband and a pillow speaker. The headband is used to track body temperature, heart rate, and EEG pulses in order to gauge when a user has entered the REM phase of sleep. When it detects that, the pillow speaker takes over and uses audio-visual stimuli (similar to the Aurora Dreamband) in an effort to make the user lucid. An app compiles sleep-related data such as duration, heart rate, quality of sleep, etc.
The iBand + raised a whopping €644,000 (~$699,000) on Kickstarter. Oh ya, it also raised $824,000 on Indiegogo. The device can be pre-ordered through its Indiegogo page, linked through the button below.
Aladdin is based on the same paper published in Nature Neuroscience that inspired the creation of The Lucid Dreamer. When Aladdin’s headband detects that the wearer has entered the REM phase of sleep, it administers low-current stimulation in the forehead region. This, according some research results, leads to the induction of a lucid state. Meanwhile, a smartphone app tracks important data such as how long it took for the user to fall asleep, the length of different phases of sleep, and other important information.
Aladdin has raised $25,000 so far on a $250,000 goal. The campaign wraps up in a little over two weeks.
Awoken is an Android app that attempts to do the same thing as the rest of the gadgets on this list, just without the physical gadgets strapped to your skull. Since it doesn’t use any specialized hardware, the app employs a slightly different approach–one based on training.
It starts by asking users to pick a Totem Sound. This is a sound that accompanies a notification (called a Reality Check) that asks users if they’re currently dreaming. In the day, the answer to that question would generally be, “No”. Even so, the app consistently sends the notifications in order to train users’ brains to become more self-aware. The same notifications are sent at night. With enough training, the idea is that no matter when the totem sound is made, its receipt will trigger self-awareness–during a dream, the theory holds, it would induce lucidity. The app also sends notifications reminding users to update their dream journal when they wake up, which has also been shown to be an effective method to train for lucidity.
Prateek Jose is a writer and engineering undergrad from India with an unhealthy obsession for obscure historical trivia. Conversations about absurdist fiction and the technological singularity make his day. He’s already uploading parts of his brain to servers by writing for websites such as this one.