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Sweet Dreams Are Made By This 438

Posted by michael
from the dreaming-my-dreams-with-you dept.
schnoz writes "From Takara, the folks who brought you Bow-Lingual the dog translator, comes the Dream Workshop. Before going to sleep, all you have to do is stare at a photograph of what you want to dream of (Natalie Portman maybe) and record the dream plot. When you fall asleep, this gadget waits for REM and then uses your voice recording, lights, music and aroma to help direct your dream."
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Sweet Dreams Are Made By This

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  • dreaming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mjc_w (192427) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:17PM (#8011117)
    How bout if I change someone's dream input?

    Hacking dreams???
  • Sounds Tempting! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MissMarvel (723385) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:18PM (#8011119) Journal
    Hey, this thing might work! Back in the dark ages when I was in college I used to tape lectures and listen to them while I was asleep. Amazing results!

    My dreams could use a bit of spicing up, but I think I'll opt for Johnny Depp instead of Natalie Portman. Anyone know how much 14,800 yen is in US Dollars?
  • I'm dreaming of... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HappyCitizen (742844) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:19PM (#8011126) Homepage Journal
    Darl McBride vs. Darth Maul Ok, on a more serious note, could this replace studying in some way shape or form. I mean a book under your pillow is crazy, but what about making it direct you through a dream in which you learn. This could really help self education. Imagine going further, having it teach you programming. Yes, you would need to record a plot and such, but I bet someone smart could have a computer generate one from an online manual or something. Just my 2 cents
  • Dammit... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ttldkns (737309) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:21PM (#8011144) Homepage
    You just know that your alarm clock would go off just as it ogt interesting...

    and how many dreams can u actually remember after you wake up anyway, i always remember for about half an hour before the memories start to fade... i think ive lost some good ones, altho i may have been dreaming
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:25PM (#8011170)
    Would dreams be considered a creative work under US copyright law? If they are, then would a hacked dream be a derived work? Cool. You won't get in trouble for making your victim have nightmares of radioactive hell-lobsters, but you'll go to jail for copyright infringement.
  • by denny_d (454663) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:26PM (#8011177)
    Wim Wenders's Until the End of the World came up immediately when I saw the article... though this machine doesn't come close to the device in the movie, you'll have to see the movie!, I do recall that once I got a handle on my dreams many of my day-time 'stuff', 'issues', 'problems' were somehow clarified and easier to manage. I kept a dream journal for about six months and those six months were the sanest of my life. I'd be curious to try the dream machine only to see if I could get that kind of clarity back without having to wake up half an hour earlier everyday to write down my dreams...
  • by GuyMannDude (574364) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:27PM (#8011184) Journal

    Although lucid dreaming [lucidity.com] is not exactly the same as dream control [lucidity.com], it does give you the ability to control your OWN ACTIONS in a dream. The advantage of lucid dreaming is that you don't have to buy any gizmos to make it work (although some people do sell things to help you achieve lucidity). The disadvantages are, as I mentioned, the fact that you only control yourself and not necessarily your surroundings and it takes some time to learn the skill of becoming lucid in a dream.

    Lucid dreaming is basically a technique for becoming conscious that you are in a dream without actually waking from that dream. It takes some work, believe me. We're talking months here. But it is kinda cool. Once I realize that I'm dreaming, I usually take advantage of that fact by blasting any enemies around me with a Godzilla [godzilla.co.jp]-like breath weapon! While this is admittedly pretty geeky, I can say that here without being laughed at (right?) because we're all geeks. Plus, it's pretty neat to see Bill Gates go up in flames!

    Another advantage of lucid dreaming is that it's a proven technique whereas this new gizmo is just something that someone is trying to sell you.

    GMD

  • by Alan Hicks (660661) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:28PM (#8011192) Homepage
    Imagine going further, having it teach you programming

    I don't know about you, but I can't seem to get even the most basic shell scripts right when I dream about computers. I can't verify the truth of the statement, but I've heard it said that the right side of your brain is the side most active during dreams, and it is also the less logical side of your brain. If that's true my first assumption is that dream learning would be mostly worthless for highly logical things like math or programming, but might be useful for art.

  • Re:Flim-flam. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RyanFenton (230700) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:49PM (#8011309)

    Actually, I do lucidly fairly often - presuming you mean being in control of and aware of the dream as a dream state. I haven't found it to be a magical thing that needs a trigger, just a simple exploration of thought. Flashing lights haven't had anything to do with my experiences, as I have always slept in darkness. I also haven't experied any special therapudic effects from such dreams either. If anything, it's just an open-ended mental game, like a daydream, and definetly not something to obsess over, or waste time on instead of sleeping. This is just another testimonial of course, and an oppinionated one at that. I encourage scientific exploration for those in the field - but distrust those with something to sell, so to speak.

    Ryan Fenton
  • by Leeji (521631) <(moc.semloheel) (ta) (todhsals)> on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:52PM (#8011322) Homepage

    One interesting thing about your point is that this device could assist lucid dreaming. In fact, the Lucidity Institute that you link to sells a similar device called the NovaDreamer. [lucidity.com] The NovaDreamer detects REM sleep, then uses flashing lights to hopefully introduce dream signs into your dream. At $138 USD, this device is much cheaper than the NovaDreamer, which costs $395 USD. [128.121.104.103]

    I've been experimenting with a home-brew solution (a web page that flashes and talks at random intervals throughout the night,) but I've had very limited success with it.

    While we're on the topic, I wrote a very long piece [geocities.com] about Lucid Dreaming in 1996 -- many people have put it on their own sites

  • Re:dreaming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by inode_buddha (576844) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @10:53PM (#8011324) Journal
    Even stranger, what if these were used in criminal cases as evidence?
  • Re:Also... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by silentbozo (542534) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @11:07PM (#8011400) Journal
    Going through the book and actually reading it out loud probably did more for your long term memory than playing it while you were off in fairyland...

    Reading the manual probably provided enough information to remember and dissect the info in your dreams, but the tape probably prompted your brain to chew on it (as well as providing cues for sections you might not have remembered.)

    I think you should take it for granted that your brain is going to do something productive while your sleeping - doing a bit of suggestion, and slipping in some audio cues to act as a cheat sheet can help as well. A full night's worth of sleep is a crucial ingredient, of course - no way you can speed cram material, take in an hour or two of sleep, and be able to remember much of anything past what's in your short-term buffer the next day.
  • by danwiz (538108) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @11:15PM (#8011431)
    Picture this ...

    A sleep-depraved Saddam is forced to stare at a photo of his dead son's bodies. After he's finally allowed to sleep and REM kicks in, a voice-over script explains to him that its all his fault and guides him on how he should cooperate fully.

    After steering his dream through freedom, a comfortable exile, and a harem of virgins he is conveniently woken up for his next round of questioning.

  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro (465802) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @11:15PM (#8011432) Homepage
    Its fairly simple, once you get the knack. Think of a "cue" something that can't actually happen. Eventually you'll be able to identify the "cue" in your dream and realize you're dreaming. KNOWING this, you can take complete control. For a short time, anyhow. Concentrate too hard and you wake up.

    It's a rather interesting exercise.
  • Monroe Institute (Score:4, Interesting)

    by forevermore (582201) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @11:19PM (#8011456) Homepage
    The Monroe Institute [monroeinstitute.org] has something a lot cheaper that will do the same thing. By using sound to alter brain waves, they can induce something that works like mild hypnosis, but give you control over yourself. I researched their "Sweet Dreams" audio suite while I was in college, and though I didn't have enough subjects (only had 4 or so) to have any significant results, there was a very visible trend to suggest that the cassettes (no cd's available at the time) were doing just what they said they would. Personally, I had my dream recall rates go from virtually none to 2-4 long dreams per night. It's a little new-agey, but this stuff is all based in science with lab results, etc. Worth checking out.
  • by Jerf (17166) on Saturday January 17, 2004 @11:52PM (#8011588) Journal
    Many times, I have solved The Problem in my sleep. I have also composed some bitching music (music composition being a former hobby of mine).

    Of the many times I have solved The Problem, only once was it actually a solution, and even then it was more like a thought that actually put me on the right track when I awoke, more out of coincidence I think then anything else.

    Many times I have awoken with the semantic equivalent of "My code will be fixed if I just pick a purple lilac and feed it to my dog.", only much, much wierder in a way that I can not just summon up while awake to provide a good example for. And it all makes such sense at the time.

    I'm sure some people really do solve problems in their dreams, and goodness knows a good night's sleep always does help me. But I wonder how many people really solve problems in their dream, and how many people just think they've solved problems. I've managed to drag several ideas from my dreams back into the waking world, including quite a few semi-interesting sci-fi plots, but none of them are worth anything when examined in the light of the sun, except perhaps some entertainment value.

    One of the things I remember dragging back was a music melody that was going to make me famous... I don't recall the specifics but I do recall it only involved two notes a whole step apart in some entirely uninspired rhythm; in the waking world it was terminally dull, as you might imagine a two-note melody would be. (I have on the other hand written some music I rather enjoyed based on the wierd feeling I sometimes get after having wierd dreams, but the music did not come to me in my sleep.)
  • by Tolvor (579446) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:01AM (#8011615)
    I also am a big fan of dream control via lucid dreaming, and if I'm maintaining the dream/reality checks and am in practice, I can usually achieve about 3 remembered and controlled long dreams a week, all for free. It took me about four months to get to that level, and I couldn't afford a NovaDreamer (a similiar (and expensive device) for aiding dreamers). I found this link (http://brindefalk.solarbotics.net) which detailed the Kvaser dreammask. If you know your electronics its easy enough to do. You'd have to modify the circuit (to add the extended audio cues) and modify the coding for the additional logic. When people advertise nice electronic doodads that are simple enough, I usually see whether or not I can do it simpler and cheaper, with all the custom additions that I want. If the device is a Mhz or Ghz microprocessor, I'm not likely to get far, but a nice project in the back of a electronics magazine, certainly. And this device certainly falls into that category.
  • Re:Lucid Dreaming (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pongo000 (97357) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:03AM (#8011625)
    Interesting you bring this up...for several years I suffered from episodic sleep paralysis. During dream states, your body is semi-paralyzed as a defense mechanism against acting out your dreams. People with episodic SP wake up from vivid nightmares still paralyzed. It's an extremely spooky and gut-wrenching experience. Think about your worst nightmare, and how you thought it was real. Now imagine lying in bed, eyes open, cognizant that you are awake, and your nightmare still continues. But you cannot move, and oftentimes you have great difficulty breathing, shouting out, or otherwise defending yourself from whatever horror you've cooked up. That's what episodic sleep paralysis is about.

    One of the methods used to treat the condition is a form of lucid dreaming in which you train yourself to recognize, in your nightmare, that you are in control of the situation. By moving a finger or something similar to "break" the paralysis, you can then wake up fully.

    For a long time sleep paralysis was treated with SSRI's, usually tricyclic antidepressants that, in light doses, would keep REM light enough to fully emerge from the paralysis stage. But if you've ever been on an SSRI, the side effects can be pretty miserable.

    It's an interesting subject that has a study all its own here. [uwaterloo.ca]
  • Re:dreaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by use_compress (627082) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:24AM (#8011704) Journal
    Futurama has already thought of it [216.239.37.104]. In the year 3000, advertisers inserting their propaganda in dreams is as common and accepted as road side billboards.
  • by 00420 (706558) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:40AM (#8011744)
    I wouldn't be surprised if we already use similar tactics.

    I would imagine people's suceptibility to it would vary greatly though.
  • Used to (Score:1, Interesting)

    by aaron_ds (711489) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:56AM (#8011790)
    A few years ago I became interested in lucid dreaming/dream control. I wrote what dreams I could remember in a dream journal every morning and after a few weeks I could control and remember a few dreams a night. A wokeup one morning to realize that I had 5 dreams that night and I could remember each one. It was if I wasn't really sleeping at night, I wasn't really rested.

    Sure dream control is a cool thing, but I enjoy feeling rested in the morning more. ;)
  • Re:Lucid Dreaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @02:01AM (#8012044)
    Random loosely related fact: Several researches seem to believe that this state is respobsible for many people who claim to have been abducted by aliens. The "grey" alien that most people seem to point toward was actually originally used in an NBC miniseries in the late 70's and has sort of snowballed from that point.

    Researchers theorize the people continue to see images of this alien representation on television and in print, and that it is incorporated into their stories. Their tales of being paralyzed by "rays" are really nothing more than being stuck in episodic sleep paralysis or hypnogogic/hypnopompic sleep states (those states right before you fall asleep or wake up).

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @02:05AM (#8012061) Homepage
    actually lucid dreaming is damned easy after being a experiment subject for 3 months back in college. Cince then I have had control over all my dreams and I have not had one nightmare cince 1991.

    It's interesting that after having to lucid dream for 3 months straight, you no longer can dream any other way.

    I call it a benefit with only one side effect, the more active the dream, the less rested I feel the next morning.
  • Re:Lucid Dreaming (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Spezzer (101371) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @02:49AM (#8012201)
    The article you linked to mentioned that you could get out of Episodic SP by turning it into a lucid dream. You mentioned that you tried to move a finger or similar to break the paralysis.

    Ironically, in all my episodes of SP, the way I was able to break out was by imagining someone taking an axe and cutting off my head. It's successfully worked more than once, although I really wish I could think of a better, less gruesome way to wake up.

  • Re:Lucid Dreaming (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CTachyon (412849) <chronos&chronos-tachyon,net> on Sunday January 18, 2004 @03:15AM (#8012275) Homepage

    For a long time sleep paralysis was treated with SSRI's, usually tricyclic antidepressants that, in light doses, would keep REM light enough to fully emerge from the paralysis stage. But if you've ever been on an SSRI, the side effects can be pretty miserable.

    Um, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors -- the new generation of antidepressants, of which Prozac [nih.gov] is the most famous) are a completely different beast from the older generation of tricyclic antidepressants [nih.gov]. I've previously been on Paxil [nih.gov] before for social anxiety and depression, and the only noteworthy side-effect was decreased sex drive (and my experience was pretty typical).

  • by BigBlockMopar (191202) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @03:59AM (#8012350) Homepage

    I'm sure some people really do solve problems in their dreams, and goodness knows a good night's sleep always does help me. But I wonder how many people really solve problems in their dream, and how many people just think they've solved problems. I've managed to drag several ideas from my dreams back into the waking world, including quite a few semi-interesting sci-fi plots, but none of them are worth anything when examined in the light of the sun, except perhaps some entertainment value.

    I was irritated by all the crumbs in my toaster. It was really starting to look gross.

    Then, one night, I had a dream about sticking my toaster into the dishwasher [glowingplate.com].

    In the light of day, it didn't seem so silly. After all, the dishwasher merely sprays hot water.

    Now, the toaster can take heat - that's what it's designed to do.

    The water was something else. The cord and plug are sealed, and even if they weren't, they'd be fine when they dried out. The nichrome heating elements are very corrosion-resistant, and the mica sheet which supports the nichrome isn't water soluble.

    I was worried about the release mechanism. A close look revealed a solenoid, made of about 10 turns of fairly thick enamelled copper wire. When the bimetallic switch warps at the end of the toasting, the contacts open and the full load of the heating element is placed across the solenoid, causing it to release. Worst case, if the dishwasher were to take all the enamel off the solenoid, the toaster wouldn't release, and I'd rewind the solenoid with some old wire kicking around.

    Then, detergent - it's quite corrosive and its deposits might be conductive. I decided to skip it, since crumbs are, by and large, going to disappear simply from the water spray.

    So into the dishwasher it went, bottom rack. I tied the cord to the rack so it wouldn't get sucked into the pump. Full cycle, pots and pans mode, in my 1970 Maytag WU600.

    A sidenote. The WU600 was Maytag's first automatic dishwasher. It has a 1/2hp motor direct driving a two stage centrifugal pump. It will take fried eggs off a poorly-seasoned cast iron frying pan, and it's extraordinarily loud. When it's running, it sounds like the world is coming to an end. When it's draining, the house rumbles like a freight train loaded with lead blocks is speeding by.

    (A sidenote)^2. A quiet dishwasher is not a good thing. Since you cannot predict the shapes of the dishes people will stuff into it, nor can you predict *how* they'll stuff dishes into it, you cannot predict the flow of water after it leaves the spray arms. Therefore, you cannot predict the noise the water will make. To counter the noise, you could use insulation for a broad-spectrum white-noise deadening approach - but the dishwasher has to fit in a standard size hole, and 6" of sound deadening all around would massively eat into the dishwasher's capacity for dishes. The other option is to make the water leave the spray arms with less velocity - which will inherently reduce the cleaning power of the dishwasher. Shopping Tactic: Buy the loudest dishwasher you can find, it's the only one which won't require pre-rinsing your dishes.

    Waited until the cycle was done. Opened the door, waited for the fog to clear off my glasses, and surveyed the damage... damage to the crumbs, that is. My toaster looked brand new. Even the carmelized brown stains at the edges of the slots were gone.

    So, I let the toaster dry for a few hours, clicked down the handle, and plugged it in - briefly. There was a crackle and some smoke. And again... more crackle, more smoke. Seems that water would get between the layers of mica and would boil off when the nichrome heated up. The smoke was coming from fine bits of crumbs which had become wedged between the nichrome elements and the mica. Quick bit of power - more heat, more steam, more smoke, small crackle. Gently, gently tapping it on and off until there was no more crackling sound as water esca

  • by m4g02 (541882) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @06:03AM (#8012585)
    Dreams are used by the unconscious to express its inner preoccupations, I dont think forcing dreams to be something is a good idea for human psyche health.

    And I dont know about you but I find strange chaotic dreams way funnier then dreaming about a girl I can dream of while awake. That is if you like to find the meaning of your dreams (or are in therapy).
  • by Pedrito (94783) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @09:42AM (#8012958) Homepage
    You can train yourself to become aware and even control your dreams. It's simple, though not particularly easy. It takes a lot of practice. The hardest part is to avoid what I'd call "newbie" mistakes, such as, suddenly you become aware, so you conjure, say Natalie P. or whomever you seek. Because the moment they appear, you realize you're in complete control. This causes you a great deal of excitement which in turn, wakes you up.

    You CAN conjure these images, but you have to work up to it, and you need to be a bit more subtle about it so that you don't get the overexcitement that wakes you.

    I did a lot of this in high school and my first two years of college. I began simply by waking up at 3:00am every morning and recording my dreams, then going back to sleep and then recording them again when I woke up again.

    After a while, you'll begin becoming more aware of your dreams. At that point, you need to start thinking about taking control. This is usually a few weeks after you've started recording the dreams.

    I wish I could still do it. It was a lot of fun. It takes a lot of work to get there, though.
  • by eth1 (94901) on Sunday January 18, 2004 @12:58PM (#8013650)
    And learn to control your dreams on your own. I found this site [totse.com] the other day, and have been doing the first exercise for 3 days now. I've managed to have lucid dreams (or at least semi-lucid) twice already. (lucid meaning you realize that you're dreaming) Once you're in a lucid dream, it's sort of like the Matrix... you know anything is possible, and can do anything you want.

Neckties strangle clear thinking. -- Lin Yutang

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