Dormio MIT Sleeping Device Research REM

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a dream-catching device. The device is called Dormio, and it works to access the mind and tap into one’s dreams.

How it works

Dormio is based on the Steel Ball method previously studied by Nikola Tesla and Salvador Dali. However, rather than giving people a ball and then watching them force themselves awake by dropping it, Dormio prompts the person to dream about certain things. These prompts consist of one or several words spoken by a smartphone app before the person falls asleep.


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Dormio monitors the bio-signals of a sleeping person after they enter a REM stage called hypnagogia. During this stage, a person isn’t awake, but they aren’t fully asleep either. After that stage ends, a slight wake-up is initiated, and the app records anything the person says about their dreams. “We have found that in the subjects we tested, the words <prompted by Dormio> reliably entered the hypnagogic dreams as dream content,” said Adam Haar Horowitz, a researcher at the MIT Media Lab and one of Dormio’s creators. Indeed, the subjects’ dreams have related to the words fed to them by the app.

Dormio device

Why it’s important

Little is known about what actually happens when people dream. The Dormio creators believe that good neuroscience is effective self-examination. A vital part of one’s self is dreams, and must, therefore, be studied. Horowitz has described the experience as “a deeply valuable and inspiring sort of self-seeing which was inaccessible previously.”

The scientists are hoping that Dormio would eventually be a device that would allow people to make the most of their dreams. So far, they’ve only tested it on 15 subjects. They are planning to do more tests to ensure the device’s capabilities and measure its effects on memory, learning, and emotions.


YouTube: Dormio: Interfacing with Dreams

Photo credit: The feature image was done by Fluid Interfaces and the close-up of the hand was done by Oscar Rosello for MIT.
Source: Jane Wakefield (BBC.com)MIT Media Lab / Adam Haar Horowitz / Ryan Whitwam (ExtremeTech)

I’m a writer with a keen interest in digital technology and traveling. If I get to write about those two things at the same time, I’m the happiest person in the room. When I’m not scrolling through newsfeeds, traveling, or writing about it, I enjoy reading mystery novels, hanging out with my cat, and running my charity shop.