This Device Will Capture Ideas from Your Dreams
A MIT-designed device can prolong and capture memories during a semi-lucid dream state that has inspired geniuses throughout history.
Right before we fall asleep, we pass through a semi-lucid state called hypnagogia. It’s a surreal state in which you might lose your sense of self, experience a distorted sense of space and time, get lost in lucid dreams or bizarre ideas free from constraints. Geniuses through history like Edison, Tesla, Poe and Dalí have tried to channel the uninhibited creativity of the state. Some even devised a trick — holding a steel ball in their hands, which would drop as soon as they left the hypnagogia state. Awake, they could quickly jot down their impressions or ideas before they fell back asleep.
Today, researchers from MIT are trying a more high-tech way to replicate that process. They designed a device called Dormio intended to extend hypgnagogia and record the “microdreams” we experience in the state. Dormio use sensors on an electronic glove to measure muscle tone, heart rate, and skin conductance to detect the shift from hypnagogia and actual sleep. Right when you’re slipping into sleep, the device will send you a sound from a smartphone app, or a nearby Jibo robot, intended to bring you back to hypnagogia without fully waking you. The bot will also start talking to you, recording anything you say aloud. Throughout the night, Dormio can repeat the process to incept and report dreams.
“I have no doubt that Hypnagogia holds applications for augmenting memory, learning, and creativity. Yet also, after having explored the state myself, I find it to be a deeply valuable and inspiring sort of self-seeing which was inaccessible to me previously,” wrote project leader, Adam Haar Horowitz. Dormio’s team hopes to make the device commercially available one day, but for now, Dormio is an open source software. Enterprising DIYers can follow a step-by-step guide to make the circuit board, and download the software for biosignal tracking on Github.