Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dream come true! Two 'mad scientists' create sleep mask that lets people CONTROL their dreams | Mail Online

Dream come true! Two 'mad scientists' create sleep mask that lets people CONTROL their dreams

By Snejana Farberov
PUBLISHED: 12:42 EST, 20 May 2012 | UPDATED: 12:42 EST, 20 May 2012

In a twist straight out of the movie Inception, a duo of developers from Brooklyn, New York, has built a sleeping mask designed to allow people to have lucid dreams that they can control.
While it may look like a standard sleeping mask, Remee has been billed as a special REM (Rapid Eye Movement) enhancing device that is supposed to help steer the sleeper into lucid dreaming by making the brain aware that it is dreaming.
The goal of the product is to allow people to have the dreams of their choice, from driving a race car to flying to having lunch with Abraham Lincoln.
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The Remee sleeping mask is billed as a device that allows people to control their dreams
Futuristic: The Remee sleeping mask is billed as a device that allows people to control their dreams
The futuristic invention is the brainchild of Duncan Frazier and Steve McGuigan, both aged 30, who have started a company named Bitbanger Labs.
The two friends put up their project on the crowd funding website Kickstarter with the goal of raising $35,000. By this week, more than 6,550 people pledged $572,891 to fund Remee.
The inside of the sleeping mask features a series of six red LED lights that are too faint to wake the sleeper up, but visible enough for the brain to register them. The lights can be programed to produce a sequence designed by the user.
Remee features six LED lights that produce a sequence allowing the user to have lucid dreams
Follow the light: Remee features six LED lights that produce a sequence allowing the user to have lucid dreams
Sleep stages are divided into two main categories: non-REM and REM. People go back and forth between these stages throughout the night, with REM stages, where most dreaming occurs, lasting the longest towards morning.
Remee apparently notices these longer REM stages and 'enters' the dream via the flashing lights. The device will wait for four to five hours for the sleeper to get into the heavy REM stages before the red lights turn on.
The idea is simple: you are playing a perfect round of golf in a dream, and you see a pattern of red lights flashing in the distance. Because the pattern is in a particular sequence, it would signal to you that you are dreaming, not unlike the totem object in Inception.
Remee inventors Duncan Frazier (left) and Steven McGuigan (right) recieved more than $500,000 for their project through the site Kickstarter
Dreamers: Remee inventors Duncan Frazier (left) and Steven McGuigan (right) recieved more than $500,000 for their project through the site Kickstarter
Once you realize you are in a dream, you can then decide what happens next, whether it be a quick trip to Antarctica or time travel.
Rather than encumbering the mask with buttons and controls, its inventors set up a website called sleepwithremee.com where users can adjust the setups, such as when to start the light sequence and when to repeat it. The intensity of the lights can also be changed.

Remee will display light patterns for 15 to 20 seconds, with a second delay of 15 minutes between each signal. During non-REM sleep, the lights are unlikely to affect the user. 
in terms of user safety and possible health risks, Mr Frazier said In a phone interview with Mail Online on Sunday that he has not received any reports of problems associated with the mask.
Users can adjust the settings on their sleeping mask through a website
Control: Users can adjust the settings on their sleeping mask through a website
He also added that LED lights are not known to cause seizures.
Frazier said that he uses his Remee several times a week, but he admitted that reaching a state of lucidity can be 'hard' and does not happen every time.
The two inventors began working on the mask last February after reading studies focusing on lucid dreams that were conducted at Stanford University in the 1980s. That is also when the first models of 'dream machines' were created. 
The inventors worked on Remee for a year and built the first prototypes themselves at home
Homemade: The inventors worked on Remee for a year and built the first prototypes themselves at home
However, he said that the early devices were bulky and expensive, some coming with a price tag of $1,000. One of the models was even available though the Skymall catalog handed out on planes, Frazier said.
Frazier and McGuigan built the first prototype of Remee at home before taking their design to a manufacturer. 
The Remee sleeping mask is light and works on tiny 3V coin cell batteries that last for several months since the devices uses up power only when the lights are blinking. 
The Remee is available in five colors (pictured) and costs $95 each
Selection: The Remee is available in five colors (pictured) and costs $95 each
With the funding for the project now in place, people can pre-order the masks. They are available in five color options and are priced at $95 each.
Mr Frazier said that so far, they have received 7,000 orders, many of them coming from Australia, Italy and Spain. 
When Remee was first presented on Kickstarter, customers could also order the masks with customized designs of their choosing, but Frazier said that this option is no longer available.
Early on, the sleeping mask was available in customized designs featuring images from the Hubble telescope
Spaced out: Early on, the sleeping mask was available in customized designs featuring images from the Hubble telescope
Frazier graduated from Lock Haven University with a degree in computer science. Besides working on Remee, the 30-year-old also founded a company specializing in creating 360-degree panoramas and interactive media.
McGuigan studied film at Arizona State University, although Frazier said that their technical skills overlap. 






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