Humans have been experimenting with lucid dreaming since Egyptian times and people have been flashing LEDs in front of their eyes at night since… well I don’t know when! But there are many LED face masks around the web, on HackADay, Youtube and so on.
A recent hit on Kickstarter was the Remee lucid dreaming mask. So why was the Remee such a huge hit when there’s already been so many DIY attempts before it? Not to take away from the success of Remee but just about any tech gadget on Kickstarter is an instant success. People just love throwing their money at Kickstarter projects. But it’s not just that, Remee took the DIY idea, played with it, tweaked it, improved it and created a really high quality finished product.
So clearly, there’s still room for something in-between the $80 Remee and the $10 DIY solution. For my mask, I’ve focussed on the comfort and functionality of the Remee but left out some of the bells and whistles that I don’t think add much.
LEDS – I’m using 3 LEDs instead of 6; this works fine for my head, but those with larger heads might want to consider installing 4. The number of LEDs has virtually no affect on the complexity of the build and is somewhat down to personal preference.
Foam – Instead of using laser cut foam, I’m using a craft knife on a foam floor mat.
Chip – For my prototype I’m using an atmega328 which is a huge overkill for this project, but it’s the only chip I had on hand. Ideally I’d like to swap this out with a attiny45. The attiny45 is smaller, can be programmed as an arduino and uses less power; meaning it can run on a single coin cell battery. Update: I borked up a component while soldering the mask and don’t have any replacements to hand, so for now the mask has a wire coming out of it which connects to a regular arduino.
Exterior – Instead of using a professionally sewn exterior, I’ve hand sewn material cut out of a child’s fleece blanket.
Customization – There’s no fancy customization like the Remee (photoresistors “reading” data off your monitor). When you switch it on, it will go to sleep for 2 hours. Once the two hours have passed, the mask will flash it’s pattern 4 times, every 20 minutes. With these timings, there’s a good chance that the mask will catch you during REM sleep.
Video showing first prototype
As mentioned above, a component got damaged during soldering and I haven’t been able to get a replacement yet. So instead of using an internal chip and battery, it currently has a wire coming out of it which connects to an arduino.