Lucid Dreaming

When we saw [merkz] use of an Arduino to produce lucid dreaming we were quite shocked. Unlike typical setups that just flash a light through sleep, his system monitors eye movement through electrodes and is able to send the data to a computer for graphing and analyzing.  The only problem being we couldn’t find a circuit diagram or code.

Not ones to be shot down so quickly, a Google revealed this thread on making ‘Dream Goggles’, which was really a Brain-Wave Machine based on the parallel port. Some modifications of an ECG collector’s electrodes using sound cards, and you could have your own lucid dreaming.

[Thanks Phil]

28 thoughts on “Lucid Dreaming

  1. I hope if anyone tries this they are at least using a laptop computer.

    I say this because he doesn’t appear to be using any voltage isolation between the PC and the headband. Most desktop PC power supplies connect the serial, parallel, and USB ground pins directly to power neutral at the wall outlet. This is still safe if your home is wired properly, but lots of outlets aren’t wired properly and if you happen to try this with one of those the results can be very serious.

    Most medical equipment that involves connecting highly conductive electrodes to your skin uses really paranoid isolation techniques because the companies that make them really, really don’t want to be blamed for killing you.

    Laptops are reasonably safe in this regard since they can be isolated themselves, and even when operated from wall power they tend not to have floating signal grounds (though not all do; this should be checked). This isolation isn’t medical grade but will still probably save your life if the electrician was in a hurry and swapped hot and neutral on the outlet you’re using.

  2. Ugh, tend not to –> tend to. You want the power supply to be double insulated, ideally the type originally manufactured with no third ground pin at all because the isolation is good enough to not require one.

  3. Battery powered is the only safe way for the hobbiest to go with a device like this. If hot and neutral are swapped, just as localroger said, you are at risk of being injured. Never use mains power for such devices.

    As far as the device itself, this one will work. It is monitoring the nerve impulses to the eye muscles, and if there are a lot of motions happening then it can be assumed you are in REM sleep.

    There is a easier way to induce lucid dreaming. For the next several weeks just repetetively ask yourself “Am I dreaming right now?”. Once the habit of asking this becomes routine you will accidentally ask it of yourself while you ARE dreaming. The moment that happens you will realize it and be able to take control of your dream. No equipment needed. Works like a charm!

    What this could be used for however, is an alarm clock that can monitor your sleep cycles through the night and in the morning pick a time where you would wake up refreshed rather than groggy from waking at the wrong point in the approximate 45 minute sleep cycle.

  4. I’m lucky enough to have lucid dreams quite frequently all on my own without any tricks. It usually happens closer to the morning and I tend to snap out of it after a little while. Still, it’s bloody sweet when it happens.

  5. hehe…
    Now what about using a $5 bluetooth headset as a brainwave/eye movement monitor? :)

    ideally another method would be to hack one of those xb0x*60 wifi headsets, as those use a dedicated channel so should be interference free.

  6. Well Matt if it’s been installed for awhile and it hasn’t blown a fuse it’s likely that in addition to having hot and neutral reversed the ground is open, which I have seen and which the outlet tester won’t detect. I’ve also seen outlets suddenly go from OK to not so OK due to the actions of for example squirrels in the attic. It’s just not a good idea to hook your noggin up to power mains without isolation. You might get away with it 999,999 times but the one time you don’t get away with it you won’t have much chance of surviving.

  7. Stephen LaBerge also says that the REMDreamer has its flaws: even if you have a light blinking at you when you’re dreaming, you might just think the cops are chasing you all the time.

  8. Love the idea of an alarm that wakes you at the optimum point in your sleep cycle, I’d happily get up a bit early(or even late and have to rush a bit) rather than wake up groggy at a set time.

    I haven’t properly lucid dreamed since I was a teenager but I agree, from what I remember, it was fecking awesome!

  9. @Richard, yes, any real hacker has been shocked but hopefully you also know how to risk it non-stupidly. There are two places you do not want to risk noticeable current flow, the chest cavity and head. This is why you will see experienced people touch the possibly hot circuit with one hand while holding the other behind their back — as long as the current doesn’t flow across your heart it’s very unlikely to kill you.

    Unfortunately, voltages as low as 40V and currents as low as 20 mA can kill you if they hit you wrong in the heart or brain. You might sensibly risk getting a shock on occasion but you absolutely don’t want it going through your heart or head.

    And that’s why when you hook metal thingies up to your skull and hook them up to electronics, you want to be super careful about what’s on the other end of the wire. It’s not like you’re hooking them up to your fingertips.

    @therian, um, what?

  10. @therian 68% of the people know that 98% of the time 78% of all quoted statistics are made up.

    Why are you arguing against information that could very possibly save your life. There is a difference between taking an acceptable risk and taking a stupid risk, the latter has it own award that many people win, sounds like you might be in line for your very own trophy.

  11. No point adding a risk that you can easily and completely avoid while still having all the fun.

    All we can do is advise and annually check the Darwin Awards candidates list.

  12. By the way PC case many time due to power capacitor & improper grounding(which is more common than proper setup)have 120 on it and people use headphones without second thought or even knowing it, because as long as you float relative to ground you safe

  13. The idea of lucid dreaming is new to me. If i’m reading this right (only partway through the wikipedia entry) this is like your own personal holodeck. I would love to prototype some visual designs with my brain rather than draw them and re-internalize them.

    Can you actually work things out? do math? make mental notes? and the big one.. remember everything you did after waking up?

  14. After reading this article I thought I’d give lucid dreaming a shot. I didn’t bother with the hack, instead I practiced recognizing when things were out of place. Like counting your fingers or spelling out the letters in a stop sign. If you see you have only 4 fingers or STOP isn’t spelled right etc you know it’s a dream.

    Well every time I became aware I was dreaming, a voice would shout IT’S A DREAM, and I would be thrust awake. Ugh was not a restful sleep at all, it happened at least 10 times.

    I wonder if the hack would help at all, or if I would still wake up as soon as I realized I was dreaming…hmmm

  15. Hack a day does this weird thing of investigating projects I’ve completed or been interested in shortly after my interest…it happens a lot. wtf

    anyway, the brainwave goggles work great in dos but be sure to add a resistor, the LEDs i used were too bright and i while i dont mind them, most people find them to be really annoying

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