New technology may help control and even create dreams
April 8, 2003 11:08 PM   Subscribe

The Dream Machine. Did anyone else miss this? The Lucidity Institute has purportedly created a machine, the NovaDreamer, that will help "control and create dreams." Retail price: US $300.00.

I think I'll get one. I wonder if there might be any harmful psychological side effects to always dream lucidly? Oh well.
posted by SilentSalamander (32 comments total)
We've been here befo'.
posted by adamgreenfield at 11:11 PM on April 8, 2003

Oh boy, sleep! That's where I'm a Viking.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:12 PM on April 8, 2003

Shoot! We've been here before.

So I guess that means someone has already made that Ralph Wiggum wisecrack too?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:20 PM on April 8, 2003

reminds me of thos ethings they used to have at raves that showed red lights through your eyelids.
posted by destro at 11:20 PM on April 8, 2003

From what I remember a similar product has been availible for years. I remember, oh, probably eight years ago reading a 'Things You Never Knew Existed' catalogue where they were selling the exact, or very similar, machine.

I'd just like something to send me to sleep quickly, without any drug taking.
posted by Be'lal at 11:21 PM on April 8, 2003

I swallowed my crayon.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 11:24 PM on April 8, 2003

variations of this crap have been sold by the sharper image for years. surprise surprise -- they don't work.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:46 PM on April 8, 2003

I'd rummage through my old Popular Electronics magazines, but I don't have to. I remember laughing at these ads then, too. I see they didn't even bother changing the pictures! :-D

If you care to learn more about this sort of stuff, read here. Or try it for yourself, not that it's likely to do much more than give you a seizure.
posted by shepd at 11:48 PM on April 8, 2003



freedom from life - yessssss, in DEATH

through d r e a m s!

only _ today _ with technology
posted by bargle at 12:21 AM on April 9, 2003

Oh man, the Novadreamer is old. I think I first saw it in the early 90s.

The technology is pretty simple, when you begin to enter REM sleep the red LEDs over your eyes start blinking as cue to the sleeper to achieve lucitity. (there are sensors near the LEDs which detect the characterisitic REM eye movements) It takes practice, practice, and practice, before you associate the lights (if they even translate over to the 'dream scene' for you. think alarm clock sound in dream.) with doing a mental "am I dreaming" check.

This is based largely on how LaBerge proved the lucidity is a real phenomenon and not a false memory like many established scientists believed in the 80s. He argued that if lucidityy is real then he should be able to control the only non-paralyzed muscle in his body while asleep - his eyes. He devised an experiment where the sleeper would roll his eyes in smooth circles while in the REM state after a cue. Normally eyes during REM are erratic and jump around. I believe later LaBerge found that someone else had done this very experiment a couple years earlier and does not take sole credit for proving lucidity is a real phenomenon.

Sounds a little odd to the unintiated, but is it so surprising that sleeping is just another brain-state as opposed to the conventional wisdom of being "out cold" and "out of it." Its a shame there's so much new age claptrap surrounding lucidity. I've always wondered if there were theraputic uses for it, but once something has been branded silly few are willing to waste time with it. Also see Dr. Leary and LSD research.

A couple of the above posters are confusing mind machines(meditation aids) with the Novadreamer (lucidity cue device). They're two different critters.
posted by skallas at 12:25 AM on April 9, 2003

All of Stephen Hunter's Post movie reviews here.
posted by Zurishaddai at 12:46 AM on April 9, 2003

Whoops, wrong thread and the link didn't even do what it said. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.
posted by Zurishaddai at 12:50 AM on April 9, 2003

I bent my Wookie.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:39 AM on April 9, 2003

"It tastes like burning!"

Didn't Kurt Cobain have one of these hallucinotrons?
posted by planetkyoto at 2:35 AM on April 9, 2003

no, he had a dreammachine.
posted by cachilders at 3:39 AM on April 9, 2003

sorry, that's a dreammachine
posted by cachilders at 3:40 AM on April 9, 2003

"For Gingras, this dream machine is a dream come true.........."While sleeping I could be awake doing other things... flying around, meeting Einstein or Ghandi, or having sex with 15 partners feeding me grapes," he said. "It's a whole world that you create!"....Gingras has created a website devoted to capturing dreams by using video and computing technology to re-create his lucid dreams, so everyone who logs on to his site can see what he has seen "

Eww...these website videos - they are a depiction of this guy's sex fantasies ?

"An intellectual aid, a sex toy, and a productivity enhancer, all in one convenient package. Only USD $299.99!..."
posted by troutfishing at 4:37 AM on April 9, 2003

How long before Corporate America figures out how to slip in ads?
posted by ElvisJesus at 4:46 AM on April 9, 2003

ElvisJesus - Sweet Jebus!....they've been reading their P.K. Dick, and they're working on it.
posted by troutfishing at 5:17 AM on April 9, 2003

This sounds pretty cool, but frankly I'd settle for a dream recorder like the one Dr. Aki Ross uses in the opening sequence of the Final Fantasy movie.
posted by alumshubby at 5:22 AM on April 9, 2003

Save your money, you can accomplish the same thing with an audio cassette player that has the "auto-play-the-other-side" feature. Actually had to do this in college (as homework) and it worked surprisingly well.

First phase is conditioning, and you'll feel stupid. Record a tone on the cassette, and listen to it 5-6 times a day for a week while looking at the back of your hands and asking yourself, "Am I asleep right now?" Study the back of your hands, learn their imperfections and detail, all while listening to the tone. Keep doing it even when it feels ridiculous -- this is Pavolv's Dog time here, you're programming something deep.

Second phase is triggering. Get a 90 minute cassette, record 2 minutes of the same tone in the middle of each side. Put the tape in the player and the player by your bed when you go to sleep.

With the length of R.E.M. cycles, your chances are high of hitting the tone once a night during a dream phrase (since you're getting a tone every 30 minutes.) If you did enough of the conditioning, in your dream you end up looking at your hands and asking yourself if you are asleep. Invariably, you notice that your hands are purple, or lack specific detail, or some other clue that doesn't match up to "reality", and your subconscious in the dream answers your question, "I am asleep."

Presto, lucid dreaming time. Which I must admit, was pretty startling. We had a class of 42 people at the time doing that project, 35 ended up reporting success after three weeks.

Damn behaviorists takes the mystery outta freakin' everything, don't they.
posted by bclark at 5:45 AM on April 9, 2003

bclark, is there an article on this subject that you could point to?
posted by cachilders at 6:07 AM on April 9, 2003

Here's where we last talked about lucid dreaming, with plenty of good links provided by plenty of good people. (In retrospect, no, that episode of Ed did not turn out to be the watershed moment - even I forgot to watch it.) Yeah, the NovaDreamer is about ten years old. I bought an earlier version that was a little more cumbersome and found that it was such a pain to try to sleep in that I wasn't willing to wear it night after night. I think it worked, marginally, once.

The point is that while assisting the cuing of lucidity with a machine certainly can work, you'll get more benefits out of conditioning your psyche to question reality and become lucid in a more organic way. You know me, I love those organics.

Skallas, it was Keith Hearn who concurrently did a similar experiment to LaBerge's over in the UK. But his was not as tightly controlled. I remember an interesting aspect of Hearn's research was "where does the light come from in dreams?"
posted by soyjoy at 7:27 AM on April 9, 2003

bclark, I will point out that the difference between this product and a cassette (other than light vs. sound) is the feedback system - the lights go on specifically when eye movement is detected, rather than haphazardly. And again, looking at your hands is a good practice, and a good way to ground yourself in the dream, but it's a lousy reality test. Many times I've looked at my hands and they look exactly right. The reading test is best, even if not completely infallible.
posted by soyjoy at 7:34 AM on April 9, 2003

soyjoy and I weighed in on this last time, and, since lucidity is one of my favorite mental states, in dream and in wakefulness...

I have never tried the machine, but here's one more low tech aid to lucidity: take a valerian pill before going to bed. Or some other herbal sleep combination. Vitamin B-6 is also good for this.
posted by kozad at 8:44 AM on April 9, 2003

Waking Life is a movie that spends some time talking about lucid dreams. It's a pretty good movie, the animation is great, but personally I disliked the "professor - student" dialogue going on for much of the it. Worth watching, though.
posted by cohappy at 11:09 AM on April 9, 2003

Bah. I should try searching metafilter for previous discussion of my topic: here, and here.
posted by cohappy at 11:11 AM on April 9, 2003

Alabahamian experimenter/improvisor/punk rocker/all around racket maker Jeff McLeod bought one of these things and had some great stories about telling his dream neighbor to fuck off and flying into the trees. He also wrote a solo guitar piece based on the "sounds" he experienced, evocative and loud as fuck.
posted by mikrophon at 11:37 AM on April 9, 2003

So wait, let me get this right -- you don't spend enough time doing things the 16 hours you're awake, you now want to do stuff 24/7? When do you rest?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2003

Ogre, you're half right - we don't spend enough time doing things we like to do while awake.

And I know you were just teasing, but it's typical to awaken from a lucid dream feeling more rested and refreshed than usual.
posted by soyjoy at 1:53 PM on April 9, 2003

Here's another good reality test. If you have a spouse, significant other, good friend, roommate, etc., just ask each other, "Are you dreaming?" on a regular basis. As part of greeting one another, for instance. Have the other person think about it for a moment, then answer. In the waking world, the answer will always be no, of course. Then, when he/she appears in your dreams, as spouses, friends, etc. often do, one of you will ask the question to the other, and when you think on it for a moment you'll realize, "Wait a minute, I AM dreaming!" Presto! You're lucid.
posted by stopthemadness at 10:45 AM on April 11, 2003

Since I read bclark's comment I've been asking myself "Am I dreaming?" every hour or so. This weekend I found myself in an absurd situation and realized this could only be a dream. BOOM! Lucidity. I started flying around and, after a while, decided to go back and have sex with my wife.

The interesting thing is that, when we woke up, my wife told me she had dreamt about us having sex at about the same time I had my lucid dream! She says that we had astral sex, I don't know about that, but that was very cool!
posted by fjom at 8:07 AM on April 14, 2003

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