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Seems we're having our share of last-minute doubters! But no worries, we're taking it all in stride. All part of the "fun"ding process!
If you are lucky enough to have experienced a lucid dream, you know that it’s an absolutely amazing thing. Suddenly realizing that you’re dreaming and being able to do impossible things is something that everybody should be able to experience at least once in their lifetime.
It is possible to have lucid dreams without an induction system, but you must be extremely dedicated as techniques include writing down every dream you have, performing "reality checks" all day long, every day, and so on. And even that won't guarantee that you'll start having lucid dreams.
Let's start at the beginning
My lucid dream experience
This whole endeavor began a few years ago when I had my first lucid dream. It was really one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I immediately became obsessed with having more.
So I looked around for lucid dream inducers and what I saw was pretty disappointing. They were all in the form of a mask that emits lights. And most of the comments said that it didn't work. That they didn't see the lights when they flashed. This is because your brain can't associate the flashing lights as an alert telling you that you're dreaming. Instead, whatever you're dreaming of, it will just flash and you won't make anything of it.
Guess we'll have to invent a better system... using brainwaves!
Since a light-emitting mask was out of the question, I started looking into brainwaves, and learned that they are the best way to detect Rapid Eye Movement (REM). It is during REM sleep that our dreams do their thing.
Lights are out. Sound is in.
Since flashing lights were proven to be unreliable in alerting the user that their dreaming, it was decided that the system was going to use a vocal alert. The vocal alert would be "This is a dream. Take control".
The Initial Sketch
That same day that the idea came to me I created a quick schematic sketch of what I wanted the system to be composed of.
An amplifier is necessary due to the fact that the brainwaves are very low voltage. Boosting their signal gives us bigger and more accurate signals to analyze. Incorporating the amplifier within the headband would have made it too bulky.
The next step was to record the signals while we slept using an oscilloscope that had recording capability. We also recorded video of the person sleeping in order to confirm REM sleep. Afterwards, it was quite straightforward to identify the REM brainwaves.
Then, we added an Atmel microchip on the breadboard and programmed it to recognize the amplitudes and frequencies we observed during our tests. We had to find an old laptop which had a serial port in order to interface with our module. It was old, but worked like a charm!
We cut a bathing cap into a headband to hold the electrode in place. This "electrode" was just a gold-plated speaker connector which ran from the head to the amplifier/analyzer. For simplicity, the output to the earphones was located on the amplifier, not the headband.
Test Results... To our great surprise and excitement, the prototype produced a lucid dream the very first night! In the weeks of tests that followed, our prototype managed to produce lucid dreams a little more than half the time. It was ugly, but it worked!
Okay, it works! Now we need a name & logo
We came up with the name "LUCI" simply because we felt that the "female" nature gave the system a delicate aspect.
Now that we had a name, we needed a logo. We knew that we wanted to incorporate a crescent moon. Here's an evolution of the Luci logo:
What should this thing look like?
It was time to think about the headband's look. Instead of wasting time and energy physically designing headbands, we decided to design the headband using CAD design software.
At the same time, we also wanted to see what it would look like on someone's head, so we created a 3D model on a mannequin's head. We think it looks pretty good!
From our conceptual drawings and 3D models, we created something very close to what we had envisioned. The production model should look very close to this.
We also used a Watts dry electrode for better contact with the skin.
Test results : It seems the dry electrode has made a remarkable difference in capturing the brainwaves! No false alerts, just clean REM detection! The new PCB is working just like the breadboard version. The only thing we added was a volume control allowing you to choose from 4 volume settings.
The Complete Prototype
This latest prototype consists of a simple third-party mono amp which receives the signal from the electrode, amplifies it, and sends it to a microprocessor (in this case, an Arduino board) which analyzes the signal. When the REM signal is detected, a recorded message is sent to the ear buds. Months of programming and testing went into this system, assuring that it will be the most reliable system for REM detection.
Please note that some people are reporting that the above photo is Photoshopped with an image from the manufacturers web site. While it appears similar, you will see that the angle is not the same. We've added a side-by-side comparison to calm any suspicions. Sorry, we should have thought of that earlier. :)
Below is a quick design we made for the amplifier housing. A USB port for computer analysis may or may not be offered. It will depend on the funds available.
After evaluating many leads and quotes, we have found a Chinese manufacturer who will be capable of producing high quality units at a very reasonable cost.
It's gonna cost what???
The manufacturer we found is a large player in the electronics industry. While they will produce high quality units at a very fair price, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) exceeds our financial capabilities. This is where you guys come in.
In order to enter the manufacturing stage, we need to finalize the following steps:
Nov. 11 to Nov. 22 - Redesign a PCB which includes the amplifier and microprocessor on one board.
Nov. 25 to Nov. 29 - Create production-ready CAD drawings for the electronics
Dec. 2 to Dec. 6 - Create production-ready CAD drawings for the amplifier housing
Dec. 9 to Dec. 13 - Create production-ready CAD drawings for the headband
Dec. 16 to Jan. 31 - Production prototype creation, testing & approval
Feb 3 - Product rolls out
We are expecting these processes to take roughly 3 months. We don't want to rush any of these stages as we want the results of the production model to match or exceed the results we had with our prototype models.
Rewards for Supporters
* Photos of the original LUCI are actual photos of our working prototype. The other photos are representations of the rewards offered. Actual rewards may differ slightly from the photos.
Risks and challenges
As you know, some things can take longer and some can take less time than anticipated. We hope that you will understand if there are unavoidable delays or complications. The appropriation of funds shall remain at our discretion. Use of funds may include (but not limited to) product development, travel, debt repayment, facilities and utilities. If the project does not reach completion, any unused portion will be refunded to those who have rewards still pending and in proportion to the backed amount. We shall not be held legally or financially responsible under any circumstances. As a backer, you accept these terms and conditions.
The ear buds will come with three different sized rubber adapters. With the proper size, they should stay in your ears all night. We have not encountered this problem during testing. To be sure, try sleeping with some standard ear buds for a couple of nights.
Twice. This was the optimal setting for all our testers. If the voice is fuzzy or overlooked the first time, it plays again making sure that you hear it. Since your brain wants to keep dreaming, you won't wake up.
So basically, you will here "This is a dream, take control.... This is a dream, take control."
If we receive enough funds, we plan to add a USB port which will allow you to customize the vocal alert and the number of times it plays.
The silicone material will be perforated allowing it to stretch quite a bit while allowing just the right balance of strength the keep the electrode on your head, but not too loose so that you will lose it. Don't worry, you won't be going to work with headband lines in your forehead the next morning. ;o)
If we receive enough funds, we plan on adding a USB port (or bluetooth) which will allow you to record your brainwaves on your computer. We will need to develop a software program which will allow you to analyze he signals, optimize Luci for yourself and customize the alert message.
For the production version, we will be sourcing the lowest profile earphones possible. I personally am a side sleeper and have not had any difficulty or discomfort with the generic earphones we are currently using.
Luci™ in Kickstarter Green ••• A Kickstarter green version of the Luci™ as a special hommage to the site that enabled us to take our project all the way. We did not set a limit for this reward, but it will never be offered again after this campaign ends.