If the phrase "bedroom robotics" strikes terror in your soul, you'll be forgiven. But you've probably just watched too many sci-fi movies.
This type of robot is much more benign. It is designed to create your own personal sunrise, complete with sound effects, while your partner continues sleeping.
It also has the potential for a number of lucid dreaming applications which I'll share in just a moment.
First, let's see how it works and what makes it unique.
This little bot is known as Wakē (as in: wakey, wakey, rise and shine) and is designed to bring your morning routine into the 21st century.
Most people still awaken to a blaring alarm clock - or at least, a blaring smartphone - while it's still dark out, and irritate their blissfully sleeping partner in the process.
Wakē is a wall-mounted robot that works with your smartphone. When it's time to get up, Wakē uses a body heat sensor to find where you are. It rotates and uses focused beams of light and parametric speakers to send sound to your specific location.
It repositions itself if you roll over and shuts itself off when you get up. Like an alarm clock, you can snooze or deactivate Wakē using its bespoke app. Meanwhile, your partner sleeps on (the swine).
It's a simple concept that's been realized through a combination of technologies - from infra-red sensors to seek your location, to a wifi-enabled CPU to receive future upgrades, to white LED lights that simulate the sunrise, to parametric speakers that use ultrasonic waves to create a very narrow audible beam.
While Wakē's purpose is to wake you up peacefully and naturally, a whole lot more can be done with future firmware upgrades. Here's what the team are currently evaluating:
Of course, lucid dreaming is the one we're really interested in. So how could Wakē be developed to improve the lives of lucid dreamers?
Right now, Wakē exists in prototype form. That means it's more than a concept - it's an actual working model - it just hasn't hit assembly lines yet. That's where we come in.
On its first day of fundraising, the Wakē Kickstarter campaign is already flagged as a Staff Pick, and is aiming to generate $100,000 so that by September 2015, worldwide shipping of Wakē can begin.
Pledge anything from $5 to $2,500 to scoop up a range of rewards, including early bird Wakēs, brunch with the creators, and a pool party in Las Vegas. These guys know how to celebrate.
"Wakē does not use cameras or anything that could be hijacked to violate your privacy... so keep on rocking those ridiculous pyjamas."
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?