Dreams can guide us towards powerful technological breakthroughs, creative epiphanies, and deep glimpses into our souls. Unfortunately they are devilishly difficult to remember.
Shadow launched its modern-day dream catcher today — a mobile app that enables people to record, remember, and interpret their dreams.
Founder Hunter Lee Soik said that 95 percent of all dreams are forgotten in the first five minutes after waking up.
“People are now quantifying everything from sleeping to moving to eating,” Soik said in an interview with VentureBeat. “But dreams are a dataset that is literally being forgotten about every night. It’s because there is no easy way to document them. Quantifying dreams is about more than technology, we want to quantify the subconscious mind in a way that helps you understand the self.”
Shadow’s alarm clock has escalating alarms that guide dreamers through their “hypnopompic state,” from sleeping to waking. This gradual transition makes it easier to remember dreams. They can then type, speak, or answer questions to record their dreams as soon as they wake up. Shadow collects data over time so you can look for patterns and see what other people in the community are dreaming about.
The ultimate goal is to create a global dream database.
“We are interested in this idea of making the invisible visible,” Soik said. “What happens when we connect all of this information together? Its a zeitgeist for future generations. What were people in 2013 dreaming out? What do people dream about after a thunderstorm? Do mothers and children share dreams? If you eat meat after 9 pm, do you have nightmares?”
This is Souk’s third startup. After his last project he took some time off and started sleeping a lot. He was having intense, vivid dreams and wanted a place to store and understand them. He found no solutions out there to his liking, and set out to create Shadow.
He said that privacy and security is a central part of the product. Users have control over how much information is shared and any dream data pushed to the community is kept anonymous.
Shadow has also assembled a group of PhDs and dream researchers to help make sense of the data, including Dr. Deirdre Barrett, a Harvard PhD who served as president of the international association for the study of dreams; PhD Umberto Leon Dominuez, who focuses his research on the neuropsychology of consciousness; and clinical hypnotherapist Kelly Sullivan Walden; and Anne Hill, the founder of Dream Talk Radio.
Soik said that these team of experts emphasizes that the app is heavily rooted in science and you won’t find any “clouds and rainbows,” just “clean” design.
The app is free, but he has a big vision for down the road where people could pay to learn how to lucid dream or connect with dream interpreters from around the world.
Shadow is currently raising $50,000 on Kickstarter. It is available on iOS and Android.
Check out this video from Shadow:
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the eight biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.