project morpheus

Posted on Feb 4, 2014

The goal of this project was to build a circuit that would monitor a person`s sleep activity and, eventually, give feedback on that activity to the user. The purpose of this was to induce lucid dreaming in the subject. When sleeping, people generally alternate between different cycles. Those cycles are often described as REM cycles, that is Rapid Eye Movement

project morpheus
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cycles, and non-REM cycles. While the brain activity during non-REM cycles has distinguishing features, the brain activity during REM cycles is nearly identical to that that occurs when a person is awake. In addition to brain activity, several physiological signs of REM activity can be observed, the most obvious of which is the movement of the eyes. Since most dreams occur during the REM cycles and since brain activity during REM is close to that of a conscious mind, it is possible to achieve consciousness during a dream. The problem, of course, is that dreams seem real: it is hard to realize that dreams are dreams and not reality. One way to do this is to learn to recognize signs: in dreams, things that do not usually happen in real life, such as flying elephants or malfunctioning equipment like light switches. Another way is to have a device that would monitor the person and give a signal when REM sleep is detected. That signal can be a visual or auditory cue, strong enough to be noticed but weak enough to prevent the person from waking. Since the moving eyes can be seen through the eyelids during REM, it should be possible to build a device to detect this movement and give visual/auditory cues to the user. This can be done by shining a light at the eye and measuring the amount of light that is reflected; when that amount changes, it means that the eye is moving. To avoid awaking the user when probing, an infrared light...

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