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Dream Monocle - New Lucid Dreaming Mask



I’ve been working on a consumer focused Lucid Dream Module/Mask for about a year now and these are nearly ready. I find it surprising that there are no products that improve on what the NovaDreamer did over 20 years ago! I know it was ahead of it's time and patent issues stalled progress in this space maybe but I did expect to see a variety of these available for people to test out.


This work follows some posts I made on the history of these devices and some of the working principles, along with how basic versions of these can be made that track eye movement. I had a lot of feedback on this and people requesting ready-built systems but what I’d outlined then was more of a proof of concept or basic prototype rather than something you would want to use regularly.


This is one of the first products I’ve been working on that is for a wider audience rather than other developers or researchers so I’ve been taking my time with aspects around ease of use.


The target I had in mind was to take the best aspects of what’s been made previously and modernise it with some additional features I think are important.


My baseline for capability was the NovaDreamer and REM Dreamer Pro, I think these were great devices for their time. The downsides are that they are bulky, prone to false positives and difficult to setup right for a beginner.


Here’s the overall criteria I had and some example products to show how they compare. There are other devices like Remee, but that doesn't detect REM so not including it:

Feature

NovaDreamer

REM Dreamer Pro

Somni Mask

Smart Lucider

Can detect Rapid Eye Movement

Yes

Yes

Yes but user feedback suggested some issues with it

Yes but user feedback suggests some issues with it

Available to buy

No –old device, no longer produced

No –old device, no longer produced

No. Came out a few years ago but now out of stock and no sign of coming back

Yes

Affordability

Not available now but was $3/500 from what I’ve seen

Around $300 originally. Not available anymore

$199 originally, no longer available

<$100

Can limit false positive cues

No

No

Yes, although apparently didn’t work very well

No

Provides feedback on previous cues and REM patterns during sleep

No, gave basic info on amount of cues

No, just info on previous cue attempts

Text file output on cue times

No, just ammount of cues

Ease of use

No user interface and required a manual to configure the settings using onboard dials and buttons

User interface with buttons to setup, fairly easy

Complicated setup using a USB connection to a computer, also didn’t work very well based on user reviews

Very similar to NovaDreamer, no user interface so requires use alongside a manual to set up and use effectively

Production Date

 2004

 2013-some older versions were available before this

 2022

2020

 

So I don’t really have a high bar to achieve much based on the fact there's not much options around but I still wanted to make sure I make something that has improvements all round. I had a lot of experience with the REM Dreamer Pro so I know from that what worked well.


The module is called the Dream Monocle, based on the fact that it attempts to induce lucid dreaming from one eye rather than a device that bridges across the nose like all other masks aside from Somni. It isn’t related to the open source module I made and is a lot more complicated than that but some of the core principles are the same. It's about half the size of a credit card and quite light.


Here is a list of some of the key features:

1.      REM detection using precision proximity detector. This aspect is a fraction of the size that previous masks have used because the light emitter, sensor and all supporting circuitry are integrated into a single chip that uses a much narrower light beam.


2.      The light sensor is ambient light compensated and the construction and 3D style mask design avoids external light bleeding in. Along with a motion sensor that detects small head movements, false positives are very effectively avoided.


3.      Onboard OLED screen and buttons as interface for setting up and viewing when cues and REM stages have been detected as a graph.


4.      No external PC or app required, everything can be setup on the module itself.


5.      Operates on a single coin-cell battery and can be used regularly for at least months before replacing the battery.


6.      The circuit board has a case and can be easily detached from the sleep mask so that it can be cleaned. You can easily modify other sleep masks that you find more comfortable so that it can be used with the Dream Monocle module. It seems odd to say it has a case I know but all previous designs in the table above are bare circuitboards without an enclosure aside from the Somni mask.


7.      There are 8 different settings you can make to adjust how the mask operates, everything from timer offsets, sensor and cue settings.


8.      The mask can also operate as smart-wake alarm so that it wakes you up when it detects light sleep. The module has an onboard speaker/buzzer that can be used along with the light emitter for dream cues or as a wake up alarm.


9.      Low cost compared to previous, similar products. Aiming for around $150, which is much less than half the price of the NovaDreamer and REM Dreamer pro’s starting price and that’s without accounting for inflation. It will also be cheaper than the Somni mask was, which came out only a couple of years ago before expiring.


10. Very light, you wouldn't notice the mask has an attachment unless of course if you sleep more face down on the side the module is on, otherwise it feels like any other sleep mask. It is also a contoured mask so there is room between your eyes and the mask for comfort.


Here's a video that shows eye movement detection and the cue LED, I’m using my finger here but you can easily test with the mask on itself and adjust the sensitivity as needed:



Below is an image of a sleep session. The mask was detecting eye movement for just over 2 hours and the peaks are all the points where the mask would attempt lucid dream induction. I adjusted the light setting to a low level so that I could just track eye movement rather than try and trigger a lucid dream. This graph as feedback is another useful feature the module has other than trying to trigger lucidity:



Size comparison of the PCB alongside a REM Dreamer Pro:



I’m getting the first production batch of these made later this month and hoping to have them available from June, that gives some time to sort things like instructions and packaging etc. Still debating whether to put this on Kickstarter/crowd funding site or simply just sell them on here as it’s already close to a finished product rather than a prototype for testing at this point. I’ve made several changes over the past 9 months before reaching the final design. Either way, I’ll update on here once they’re ready and where to get them from in the coming weeks.

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Looks brilliant. I will be interested in one.

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