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Technology

New device uses brain-controlled VR light shows to induce sleep

It is known that technology such as mobile phones and tablets can wreak our sleep and in some cases even cause slee
Published July 31, 2019

It is known that technology such as mobile phones and tablets can wreak our sleep and in some cases even cause sleep deprivation. However, researchers have used technology to create a device that uses brain-controlled virtual reality to lull you to sleep.

Researchers and artists from RMIT University in Australia have created a virtual reality tool that is controlled by brain in order to induce sleep. Dubbed Inter-Dream, the device combines ambient music controlled by artists with kaleidoscopic visuals controlled by user’s brainwaves through EEG.

The device was tested on 12 volunteers who had an EEG monitor — or a device that measures electrical brain activity — placed on their heads. They were also fitted with a VR headset containing an artistically interpreted visualization of those brainwaves, while projector played the visualization on a back wall too, reported Fast Company.

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As per Engadget, the device allocates various colors and properties to various brainwaves. Since the brainwaves are constantly changing, the visuals and colors change too, leading to a continuously moving, mirage of colors, shapes and patterns. More active the brainwaves, more active the displays.

The idea for Inter-Dream is that people whose minds are more active just before bed have usually a harder time falling asleep. With the help of the lively visuals of users’ brainwaves, the device can easily lull them to sleep and help learn to calm their minds. The device uses principles of neurofeedback via real-time displays of brain activity in order to teach users how to regulate their mental wellbeing.

Upon testing, researcher Nathan Semertzidis found that participants reported a 21% drop in negative emotions and 55% drop in feeling of fear after the use of Inter-Dream. Their positive emotions rose up to 8% and their feelings of serenity increased 13%, all of which leading to an improved sleep.

Moreover, Semertzidis says more testing is required before devices like Inter-Dream can actually be deployed, but it’s clearly visible that in some cases, tech can actually help us sleep better.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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