Imagine being able to control your dreams while dreaming them. You could engineer the laws of physics in your imaginary world, give the monsters in your nightmares a makeover, or live out any of your wildest fantasies.
The device works by first measuring brain waves and eye movements to determine when its wearer is experiencing REM sleep, the state most associated with dreaming. Once it determines that REM sleep is underway, the headband begins to emit a series of subtle lights that are meant to signal to the sleeper that he is dreaming. These lights are thought to infiltrate the dream state, like a lighthouse telling the user that a dream is underway.
"The easiest way [to induce a state of lucid dreaming] is to have what we call a reality check," said Aurora headband co-founder Daniel Schoonover. "You need something that makes you question the reality you are in."
Lucid dreaming is what scientists call the experience of being aware that you are dreaming. It is a rare event, but lucid dreamers claim to be able to gain "Matrix"-like control over their dreams. The power of lucid dreaming was also a major plot device in the film "Inception."
The Aurora's creators showcase the headband in this Kickstarter video:
The headband's creators hope the device will have benefits beyond just allowing users to gain control over their dream worlds. Lucid dreaming is also believed to lower stress levels and reduce nightmares. It may even allow dreamers to improve or develop skills they want in real life.
"Another interesting find is that when performing a task in a lucid dream such as playing basketball, it reinforces your natural pathways in real life," Schoonover explained.
You could practice learning a music instrument, overcome fears or even work through the plot in that novel you've been meaning to write — all while you're sleeping. The headband's creators also think the device will help people get more quality sleep.
"We want to improve sleep overall," said Schoonover. "Dreams are a part of sleep. We're researching lots of other areas in where the technology can be used."
The technology does have its share of skeptics, and many of the claims being made by its designers have not been rigorously tested. But if you want to give the headband a try, it should soon be available to consumers for about $175 per unit.
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