Lucid dreaming made easier with the Aurora EEG headband
By Heidi Hoopes
March 6, 2014
Lucid dreaming is believed by many to aid in practicing skills, improving creativity, or just exploring adventurous new worlds, but requires practice and awareness to master. Aurora is an EEG-based headband aiming to enhance dreams and lower the barrier to lucid dreaming. With apps for multiple platforms, a host of features, and an open API for third party applications, iWinks' aim is to help the uninitiated take control of their dreams.
The system is two-part: a headband that circles around your forehead and an app which can connect to the Aurora via Bluetooth LE. The band is equipped with electrodes to measure brainwaves, an accelerometer, heart rate monitor, sleep staging software, and LEDs (more on that later).
With the EEG signal software fully encased in the headband (rather than contained in the app), a user can choose not to use the Bluetooth connection at all and still make use of receiving visual cues while dreaming. Additionally, the headband is not physically attached to anything and can last weeks on a single charge.
When the the algorithms processing your EEG data recognize that you’ve entered REM sleep, several things can happen to help you take the step into lucid dreaming. The headband is fitted with LEDs that can be programmed to send different types and colors of signals, depending on the mood you’d like to create in front of your (closed) eyes. In addition, you can choose to use sounds to set a mood for your dreams, which are played through the phone app.
The phone app (which will be available for either iOS or Android) can also be used to store and manage EEG data, as well as acting as a platform for future third party apps. It also has an alarm clock which can provide a gentle wake-up call by waiting for the lightest phase of sleep.
One popular idea for a third party app is based around the idea of “social lucid dreaming” where two users receive synced signals. Or with more skill, eye movements or EEG waves indicating REM sleep in one user could trigger a light or sound signal in another user’s Aurora device. Previously researchers studying lucid dreaming have trained dreamers to use eye movements to communicate that they are in fact dreaming lucidly, so presumably armed with an Aurora, the capability of moving your eyes while dreaming could be used as a signal to another Aurora user.
Like the Shippo tail, Necomimi ears, MyndPlay, MindSet, XWave and XWave Sport, the Aurora features EEG sensors from Neurosky, and the algorithm to process EEG waves has been verified with over a year of polysomnograms collected by Sleep960, a sleep diagnostic consulting firm, to ensure that the headband will be able to detect when any user has entered REM sleep. The algorithms will be further strengthened as users begin recording their own EEG patterns.
When the Aurora headband's Kickstarter campaign wound up, it had managed to garner US$239,094 in pledges, while only asking for $90,000. However, it’s still available for preorder from the iWinks website, for a price of $199. The headset is due to ship in June and iWinks is currently working on creating production models and shipping beta units out to those who pledged for those on Kickstarter.
Below is iWink's Kickstarter pitch video for the Aurora headband.