About the only time in life when I’m away from technology is while I’m asleep, but I would be willing to change that if I thought that it was possible to control my dreams and have experiences constrained only by my imagination.
Duncan Frazier and Steve McGuigan from Brooklyn’s Bitbanger Labs have designed a high tech sleeping mask, the Remee, which helps users to achieve lucid dreaming, or a dream where you’re aware that you’re dreaming. Such dreams allow you to control the environment and do practically anything. The project has achieved its funding goal on Kickstarter, raising over $40,000.
The pair was interested in lucid dreaming, but found that the products on the market were bulky, uncomfortable and cost hundreds of dollars. They hacked together their own prototype, completely compatible with Arduino open source hardware. It looks like a regular sleep mask, but features six red light on the inside. Users program the amount of time they plan to sleep, and Remee targets the periods when they are most likely to be in a deep REM or dreaming state. Then it flashes those six lights.
The lights aren’t bright enough to wake you up, but they do appear as anomalies inside the dream. This alerts the sleeper to the fact that they are dreaming, which is the first step in taking control and turning the experience into a lucid state where you can control the action around you.
The choice of six red lights was no accident. As the creators explain:
By having six lights we make it possible to create much more unique signals that can strobe, sweep and blink in ways that are not only recognizable, but that stimulate your visual field in a more tangible way. In addition, red light penetrates skin much more readily than other wavelengths. Remember when you were a kid and you put a flashlight in your mouth to make your cheeks glow red? That happens because red light is able to pass through your skin, and in the case of Remee, your eyelids, much more easily. On a side note, red LEDs also use much less power than other colors so we were able to keep you from strapping a 9v battery to your head.
Be sure to check out the Kickstarter and let us know what you would like to experience if you could control your own dreams in the comments (and let’s keep it PG-13 please.)