Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” (2010) got mixed reviews when it first came out. While part of the audience praised Leonardo Di Caprio‘s portrayal of protagonist Dom Cobb, not everyone was sold by a cryptic and often intricate plot and by the somewhat loose ending. Yet the movies premises – where a man can enter others’ dreams and manipulate their contents – may be now rolling into the real world. Welcome to the future, wherein like the fictional Dom Cobb we may be able to “control” our dreams.
This seems to be the next goal of the MIT (Massachussets Institute of Technology). And if there’s anything this pole of outstanding new technologis has taught us, it’s that when the MIT gets down on a project, it’s no boast.
A group of researchers developed a groundbreaking new device named Dormio, which can be worn as easily as a bracelet and may enable the wearer to manipulate dreams, through a direct link with the wearer’s own brain.
Science-fiction never got quite so real – and if the MIT experiments should prove successful, Dormio may very well change forever our conception of the studying and learning process.
Inception becomes real as a wearable device controls dreams
The MIT scientists christened their newest creation Dormio.
This little wearable device interacts with the brain of the wearer during sleep – and just like in the movie “Inception”, it may control dreams, both in terms of contents and atmosphere.
If this sci-fi gadget should meet the expectations – and the first tests are encouraging to say the least – then Dormio may soon get mass-marketed and become part of our everyday life, no less than smartwatches o Google Glass; the tools without which the people of tomorrow may simply not do.
Outwardly, Dormio resembles the skeleton of a glove in which a number of sensors have been applied – not unlike your average virtual reality gear.
But contrarily to a VR setup, Dormio is programmed to activate when the wearer enters a hypnagogic state, drifting between slumber and wake.
The MIT’s extraordinary new project
The revolutionary new gadget has been developed by MIT neuroscientist Adam Haar Horowitz and his team of researchers. The first results so far hae exceeded all excpectations, and are quite phenomenal.
During the early testing of Dormio, 49 volunteers were asked to wear the device before going to sleep. The purpose of the test was to figure out how in what context it may be possible to “induce” dreams through external stimuli.
As Professor Horowitz reported in his article on Consciousness and Cognition. the MIT experiment was a success. A good 67% of the partecipants who were supposed to dream a tree indeed reported having dreams in which trees were predominant.
Yet when the new revolutionary MIT device is linked to the movie “Inception”, Professor Horowitz smiles indulgently. There are, he warns, some deep differences between reality and fiction. But undoubtedly Dormio may open the path for new forays into the inner workings of human subconscious.
How does Dormio work?
We’ve seen that this “sensorial gloves” can manipulate dreams, in an eerily similar way to the movie “Inception” – but how does Dormio really work?
The device is connected to a built-in app that reproduces vocal recordings. When the wearer enters the hypnagogic state, Dormio repeatedly reminds them to dream a certain object or theme.
A brain activity scan thus detects when the wearer enters REM sleep. Upon awakening, the MIT equipe interrogated the partecipants on the contents of their dreams. A greatest majority of testers allegedly confirmed that their dreams had involved the specific word sequence activated by Dormio.
Repeated testings all brought up the same results. If experiments should keep being successful, then Dormio may get marketed before long.
This kind of devices may open new paths in processing memories and likewise improve learning. By selecting the needed key words we may go over what we learned during the day even as we sleep, just like in the movie “Inception”.
What may have seemed a sci-fi concept until a few years ago may become part of our future sooner than we think.
This post is also available in: Italiano