Dreams are like an internal human holodeck. Inside your mind, anything is possible, from your grandest wishes to your worst nightmares. This is all well and good, but what if you could control your dreams and become the omniscient god of a handpicked reality whenever you go to sleep? Inception took this idea to the logical extreme by invading other people’s dreams.
While we can’t hack into the dreams of others, we can definitely play an action hero movie star in our own! By using certain lucid dreaming techniques, you can do just that. During lucid dreaming, the sleeping dreamer is conscious that they are in a dream, but remains in slumber. This allows you consciously manipulate and transform the dream world just like in Inception.
Today, we are going to make our own lucid dreaming goggles and hack our subconscious into submission.
- Goggles or glasses
- LEDs (2)
- ATtiny85 microcontroller
- 8-pin chip holder
- AVR programmer or Arduino
- 3 volt coin cell battery
- Battery holder
Step 1 Cut the Goggles
Mark where your eye level is on each lens of the goggles. Be sure to test that they are large enough to fit the LEDs you have.
Ideally, the hole should be just wide enough that the LEDs are held in place.
Step 2 Program the Chip
To program the ATtiny85, all we need is an Arduino and a breadboard. Follow the instructions here on how to use an Arduino as an ISP programmer. Once your programmer is set up, load this code onto the chip. The code performs the following tasks every time you turn on the goggles:
- Blink once to signal power on.
- Wait two hours for user to fall asleep.
- Blink light pattern once every ten minutes forever.
The pattern blinks every ten minutes in an attempt to catch you in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM is the stage of sleep most likely to result in dream activity, and your brain cycles through this stage of sleep several times throughout the night. To make sure we see the light pattern during REM sleep, we repeat it in ten minute intervals.
Step 3 Breadboard the Circuit
Breadboard the circuit according to the diagram below.
The great thing about using a 3 volt supply is that we don’t even need to pair resistors with the LEDs, because there is no extra current to protect them from.
Step 4 Layout and Solder the Board
Now that we understand our circuit, we can move it to a permanent board. Move your components around on the perfboard to experiment with different layouts. Try to find the best compromise of utility and aesthetics.
You will go through several experimental layouts. I got lucky and my LEDs stretched from the board right to the holes in the goggles.
Remember to use a socket so you can remove the chip if you want to reprogram it later.
I prefer to solder wires on the back side so that the front of the board is nice and neat.
Step 5 Attach to Goggles
Place the board on the goggles so that the LEDs poke through the eye holes. Mine stays on just by force of the LEDs, but you can glue or screw the board into the goggles for a more secure connection.
Step 6 Test It Out!
To use your new lucid dreaming goggles, wear them for a few minutes each day and take note of the light pattern. Each time you notice the pattern, think about your surroundings and how you got there. If you are in real life, you will remember specifics, but in the dream world, most things are vague.
Turn on the goggles and put them on just before going to bed. If one of the flashes catches you in your REM stage of sleep and you are keen enough to notice it in your dream, you can be the god of your brain! All it takes is knowing you are dreaming without waking up!
I do not suggest opening your eyes while the LEDs blink. It can give you quite the headache.
What would you mount your lucid dream machine onto? A helmet, sunglasses, your pillow? Post up your ideas and projects in the comments, and let us know if you have a lucid dream! I want to hear awesome stories of dreamers suddenly acquiring superpowers!
Originally written by Revolt Lab for Mad Science World