The Aurora headband by iWinks has overcome the greatest hurdle of lucidity induction devices since their inception in the mid 1990s.
So how is it possible for a consumer device to detect REM sleep?
Usually, "sleep staging" has to be done by professionals who analyze your brainwave data, identifying signals which demarcate different sleep states. With Aurora, that process is automated.
A self-confessed bunch of geeks with a passion for dreams, the crew at iWinks developed specialized software using artificial intelligence and statistical machine learning techniques to interpret EEG data. With data gathering ongoing, analysis is now increasingly accurate.
The upshot is, the Aurora knows when you're dreaming.
Think about that. For the first time ever, we can now detect the presence of dreams from the outside world - on autopilot (ie, without being wired up in a sleep lab with a scientist holding a clipboard watching over you).
Some smartphone apps attempt to track your sleep - but none of them use brainwave data. Instead they rely on the accelerometer in your phone to detect movement. This has its limitations and still relies on guesswork. Aurora possesses a new technology altogether, making REM detection way more accurate.
We all dream every night, for an average of 100 minutes, separated into chunks of increasing length throughout the night. But to catch a dream in progress - that's the tricky part.
This is the challenge of the lucid dreamer. And being able to achieve this with an intelligence device means we can trigger lucidity with a much higher success rate.
To induce lucidity, the Aurora first emits configurable dreams lights from the headband.
As you can see from the promo image, it achieves this without actually covering your eyes like traditional lucid dream masks.
To further increase your chances of becoming lucid, the Aurora also plays dream sounds from your smartphone by your bedside. These come from your music library or personal recordings ("Hey Becky! You're dreaming!") You already associate specific notification tones with your phone. Now you can associate specific dream tones too.
Between light and sound cues, you can decide how you're brought to lucidity. You can create more daring dream signs with fast, loud flashes for a shock-me-into-lucidity effect, or softer, subtler tones to subtly modulate your dreamscape.
Here's another way to use the Aurora headband: select an audio of ocean waves and shape your dreamscape into a tropical beach scene. Or curl up to a cozy fire with crackling wood sound effects and orange/red light hues.
The possibilities are pretty exciting.
If you have a smartphone, you can also take advantage of Aurora's intelligent alarm function.
Ever heard the phrase "waking up on the wrong side of the bed"? This is when you've been forcibly roused during a deep phase of sleep. It's not natural - and it leaves you feeling groggy and that much more reluctant to get out of bed in the morning.
Enter the smart alarm. Using the Aurora app to specify your preferred wake-up window, the smart alarm will sound when you're in a lighter phase of sleep. Humans naturally wake from lighter stages of sleep so the alarm will feel much less intrusive, and you'll start your day feeling refreshed.
You can pre-order the Aurora for $299 via the iWinks website.
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?