Sweet Dreams Are Made of This
Kyle Moore - February 22, 2011
The Technology of Inception (In Real Life).
In Christopher Nolan’s summer blockbuster Inception, through a machine called the PASIV Device (Portable Automated Somnacin IntraVenous Device) Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his team of industrial espionage ‘dream snatchers’ can upload dream worlds and scenarios into someone’s mind and use it to find and steal information and secrets from the dreamer’s subconscious.
Or, in the case of the movie, plant an idea. And while the reality is that there is no technology out there currently that can allow you to directly access someone’s minds to steal their thoughts while they’re asleep, there is definitely some interesting dream technology out there.
One such technology, the NovaDreamer, is a lucid-dream machine in the form of a mask you wear over your eyes while you sleep. Created by Dr. Stephen LaBerge, its function is to alert someone they are dreaming so the dream becomes lucid (lucid meaning that the dreamer is aware they are dreaming and are able to control what is going on in their dream to a certain extent instead of just participating like an actor in a movie.)
The NovaDreamer works by detecting your rapid eye movement (R.E.M.) once you begin dreaming and flashing a series of lights through your closed eyelids, which then becomes incorporated into your dreamscape to alert you you’re dreaming and trigger a lucid dream.
Researchers also say that one day, perhaps in the near future, the ability to ‘read’ a person’s dreams will be possible. Dr. Moran Cerf of UCLA is working on a project that records the brain activity of sleeping volunteers.
Their research has found that certain images can consistently cause neurons in the brain to light up when viewed. So if someone is shown a photo of say, a cat, then a certain neuron will always light up.
What Cerf is trying to create is a database of what images light up what neurons in the hopes of one day coming up with a dream-recording machine that can ‘read’ dreams. The machine will be able to determine what we are seeing in our dreams based on the neurons that are lighting up, and matching them to the database. So if you dream about a cat, they will be able to read the neuron that lights up by matching it to the database.
When asked what they would do if the dream sharing technology from Inception was possible in real life, Grandview students gave a variety of colorful answers. “I would go inside the heads of all my enemies,” says Junior Will Heydinger. “So I can learn their fears and weaknesses. So I could have one up on them.”
Kyle McLain says creating a dream world scenario in someone’s head would be fun because “there’s no risk and it’s exciting.”
Senior Jude Kozelek said: “It would be a cool chance to go and see what is going on inside of people’s heads.” When asked whose mind he would travel into, he stated he “would go through Chris Jurgens’ head to see how big the beards are on his subconscious projections.”
And who knows? Maybe one day we will be able to experience other people’s minds by use of technology, but until that happens… Goodnight and sweet dreams.
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