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MIT scientists created a device that can manipulate your dreams

MIT scientists created a device that can manipulate your dreams

A dream manipulating device that could let you choose what you experience when you’re asleep is being developed by scientists.

A team of geniuses from MIT in the US have made an experimental device that aims to trigger specific dream themes and experiences while the wearer is asleep.

This may sound like something out of the movie Inception but the research shows dream control could one day be possible.

The study, published in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, was led by neuroscientist Adam Haar Horowitz from MIT.

It demonstrated how a wearable hand device called Dormio allows what the researchers term ‘targeted dream incubation’ (TDI).

They think TDI is possible during the first fluid states of sleep where you are slightly conscious so can still hear and process audio.

The hand device monitors which state of sleep you're in.
The hand device monitors which state of sleep you’re in.Oscar Rosello

Users must sleep next to a Jibo social robot, which initiates a conversations when they’re slightly awake.

It records anything they say because hypnagogic amnesia can make people forget their dreams.

This is a sleep state called hypnagogia.

MIT Media Lab explained: “The aim is to influence and extend a transitional state of sleep. To do so, we must track this transitional state (hypnagogia) and interrupt when it is ending.So, a user wears a device which collects biosignals that track transitions in sleep stages.”

“In our new device, those signals come from the hand, where we can gather data on loss of muscle tone, heart rate changes and changes in skin conductance. When those biosignals appear to signal the end of a transitional state, audio from the social robot is triggered and that person is knocked just a little bit back into wakefulness, but not into full wakefulness.”

“We use this audio cue as an inception protocol, doing this slight wake up with words (like “fork” or “rabbit”) and have found that in the subjects we tested, those words reliably entered the hypnagogic dreams as dream content.”

The system then let’s a user go back to sleep until their biosignals show they’re falling into a deeper state.

It then makes them partially awake again and this cycle repeats so dreams can be intercepted and reports taken.

The researchers said in their paper: “The aim of the current study is to assess the ability of Dormio to identify the sleep onset period and successfully manipulate the content of hypnagogic dream report through pre-sleep verbal prompts.”

The device is still only a prototype but so far results suggest it can successfully influence dreams.

When study participants were told to dream of a tree, 67 percent reported seeing one in their dream.

“My dream did involve a tree,” one participant said, “I was following the roots with someone and the roots were transporting me to different locations… I could hear the roots of the tree pulsating with energy as if they were leading me to some location.”

The researchers think their device could be used for learning in your sleep or encouraging creative thoughts.

Haar Horowitz said: “Dreaming about a specific theme seems to offer benefits post-sleep, such as on creativity tasks related to this theme.”

“This is unsurprising in light of historical figures like Mary Shelley or Salvador Dalí, who were inspired creatively by their dreams.

“The difference here is that we induce these creatively beneficial dreams on purpose, in a targeted manner.”


Source : The Sun Link