The experience of sleep is a personal and intimate one. Although your body is at rest, your mind might take you on a trip to Mount Everest, a dive into a pool of liquid chocolate or a meat and great with your favourite artist. However, your destination might as well be a never ending maze, a pool of critters or a meet and greet with your worst nightmare. Dreams are unpredictable, but since you’re the leading actor, why not be the director too?
Developers at Dutch-based company Arenar have designed a device that not only claims to improve the quality of sleep, but also induces lucid dreams. In this state the dreamers are aware of the fact that they are dreaming and to a certain extent are able to manipulate it to their liking. The phenomenon isn’t a new one, the term was first conceived by author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in 1913 and descriptions have been found dating back to the 4th century BC.
The iBand+ is an EEG headband that is able to read brain waves, monitor movements, heart rate and body temperature. The accompanied app gives feedback on the quality of your sleep, and a smart alarm working with natural light wakes you. During the so-called REM phase of sleep, audio and visual stimuli assist you in creating your ultimate dreamscape. Aside from providing a form of escapism that is unique, one might argue it is virtual reality at its most natural, the product boasts some practical benefits too. Lucid dreaming has been said to boost creativity, conquer fears and find solutions to problems faced in the “real world”.
On a broader level: what will the workability of our dreams mean in terms of societal expectations? Founder of Circadian, Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, discusses the changes that our 24-hour economy is bringing along: “Given that you can be reached anytime and anywhere, you have to be extra careful with your time. You need to find times when you’re not open for business”. The iBand+ could allow the user to meet “the demands of the global marketplace” as well as the needs of the human body. Furthermore when work is taken to bed, legal systems might dictate what a person is allowed to dream and what not. Should we prepare ourselves for a socially engineered standard of consciousness? No need to worry yet. The iBand+ main goal is to improve sleep on a personal level. Still looking for sufficient funding on Kickstarter, it is expected to be launched in July 2017.