As is Dormio, the machine capable of intervening in the dreams

Technologies

By CAPosts 31 July, 2020 - 09:02am 52 views

A project was created to add information to the beginning of the dream. (MIT Fluid Interfaces)

As in the film Origin, a group of researchers created Dormio, a device capable of altering or incubating dreams. This is the result of research by a team of scientists from MIT, Harvard and Boston College that was recently published in Consciousness and Cognition.

The researchers have been working on this project two years ago. Dormio, the device they used in the experiment makes use of a set of sensors that are placed on the user's wrist. And those sensors receive audio signals at a point in sleep to bring content to sleep. But what is the right time to get dreams in the way?

Dormio video when the project was announced to start in 2018:

Thee are a border stage, called hipnagogia, associated with the No REM phase, where the sleeping person can hear and process auditory signals.

The brain goes through cycles with five distinctive phases: phase 1, 2, 3, 4 that are Non-REM and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep accounts for 25% of the sleep cycle and occurs for the first time between 70 and 90 minutes after falling asleep. Since sleep cycles are repeated, REM sleep is entered several times during the night. During REM sleep, the brain and body are energized and that's when you dream.

"We introduced a novel protocol that uses a new portable electronic device, Dormio, to automatically generate serial hearing incubations at the beginning of sleep, in which specific information is presented repeatedly during the hypnagogic period, allowing the direct incorporation of this information into the content of dreams, a process we call targeted sleep incubation (TDI)," the research authors mention.

Dormio is a portable electronic device with sensors to automatically generate serial hearing incubations at the beginning of sleep (Oscar Rosello/MIT)

At the beginning of the hypnagogic period, an audio is sent to the person with the signal that you want to enter into your dream. In the case of the study, it was the phrase "think of a tree". Once you get to this point, the device wakes the user and is asked to tell what they dreamed of.

The study involved 49 people, who received the slogan of dreaming of trees. The results were successful in 67% of cases, as mentioned on the site Hipertextual.

What is the purpose of this project? "While the content of dreams can predict post-sleep memory improvement, dreaming in itself remains a black box," the researchers explain. Hence they have developed a device like Dormio that allows them to alter dreams in order to better understand how they form or what factors can influence them.

"To with validation data, we discussed how Dormio protocols and targeted dream incubation can serve as tools for controlled experimentation on the content of dreams, shedding light on the role of dreams in the nightly transformation of experiences into memories," the researchers mention.

In other words, this system would allow them to better understand how memories are formed as well as to understand more about the causality of dreams. In turn, incorporating information into dreams could help strengthen memory consolidation, as mentioned in the text.

The authors of the research are AdamHaar Horowitz, an MIT assistant; Tony J.Cunningham of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Pattie Maes, Harvard Medical School and Robert Stickgold of Boston College.

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