Fitness & Wearables

One Wearable Helps Users Define Their Dreams

Overview A device is making it possible for users to shape the content of their dreams through pattern tracking and recorded messages.


Researchers are leveraging technology to expand research opportunities and discover new insights about one of the most intriguing human experiences: dreams.

The Fluid Interfaces group of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, who have exhibited at CES® alongside partners, have introduced a wearable device, Dormio, that can help guide the topics of users’ dreams.


Targeted Dream Incubation

Dormio relies on the Targeted Dream Incubation (TDI) method, a novel technique for guiding dreams toward specific themes by sound association. By repeating targeted information at the onset of sleep, the method reminds users of the desired topic and suspends the users in earlier sleep stages so that they are able to hear the sounds as they dream.

In one study, participants recorded their own voices through Dormio, saying “Remember to think of a tree.” Dormio then played back this prompt to them as each participant prepared to sleep, monitored through attachments on their wrist, forefinger and middle finger that tracked sleep patterns and heart rate. At the end of the study, 67% of participants reported actually dreaming of trees or tree-related things.

The TDI method, and seeing it in action in technologies such as Dormio, can help researchers in continuing studies about how dreams affect emotion, creativity, memory and more.


More Than Just Dreams

The team showed that TDI is tied to performance benefits for creativity. For example, dreaming about a specific theme seems to boost creativity for tasks related to that theme. Lead researcher Adam Haar Horowitz noted figures such as Mary Shelley and Salvador Dali were inspired by their dreams. Now, those moments of inspiration can be created and induced through TDI.

Other studies have shown that dreaming in a foreign language may help the user improve their proficiency in that language.

Dormio and the TDI method could soon be used to encourage new or developing skills and extend dreams beyond just imaginary worlds during sleep.

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