[tbd] Dream Enhancement BCI is a combination research methodology of VR narrative and EEG monitoring. The aim of this research is to develop a functional daily BCI system for mental health and sleep wellness. The direction of this research is towards emotion regulation and wellness self-screening for sleep activities. The methodology contains a practice of viewing user specific VR narrative before sleep and a sound trigger of the narrative context during REM stage.
understand our dream and reach a better dream content experience?
had a dream of flying, or being chased, or having sex, or seeing someone who is dead?
By understanding what dream means to us and what information dream delivers , we could parsing potential dream interpretation break down structure. In this case, dream interpretation for individuals could be analyzed in four direction, RELEASE, MESSAGE, DESIRE, and SIGNAL.
These four direction suggests an effective dream journal for self-reflection should allow or encourage user to link dream content to daily information, wishes, regrets, feelings, and problems.
# a message from subconsciousness (e.g. recent worries of exam)
# process and sort daily information (e.g. scene in the film one just saw)
# a conflict or issue remains ignored or unsolved (e.g. needs to pee)
# depicts future wishes, past regrets (e.g. a new life with newborn baby)
People might believe that a dictionary for translation every fragments of dream is a easy methodology to understand the dream, however, dreams are universal at some point but also highly personal and sometimes buzzard.
A good tool for dream journal shall allow user to categorize the dream topics but also project identity with some level of customized tags and comments.
A community for user to share, browse and chat about dreams could not only build up a huge database of dream content but also generate insights and values globally.
some common dreams like flying, chasing have universal indication, such as a repressed feeling of mind
some dreams especially recurring ones usually are delivered messages from subconsciousness, which is highly indicative of personal history, desire etc
studies show brain behavior is similar but as subconsciousness is conducting the “narrative”, rational details are left out or filled by random fractures
Dream interpretation is powerful for one to learn more about him/herself. Although many of the dream contents are universal, what dream reflects is highly personal determined.
To unroll what dream depicts, individuals shall develop the ability to distinguish dreams into typical categories: day dream, prophetic dream, nightmare, healing dream, recurring dream, lucid dream...
# repeat themselves with little variation in story or theme
# often are nightmares
# indication of a fear that needs to be acknowledged or confronted
# dreams that seemingly foretell the future
# subconscious information from real world
# one is aware that one is dreaming during the dream
# ability to change content or wake up
# messages for the dreamer in regards to their health
# help inform, advice, and heal from subconscious signal
# a level between sleep and wakefulness
# typical individual has an average of 70- 120 minutes daydream per day
Brain controlled visualization of dream journal contexts in VR is an effective training method before sleep to reveal patterns of desire, regulate breathing, and is sufficient for improving sleep quality
Repetitive exposure of desired contexts before sleep with correlated sound trigger during sleep can enhance lucid dream chances and manipulate dream scenes
conduct topics of dream content for specific user
monitoring daily sleep quality with questionnaires and dream journal
dream journals data analysis and visualization
build up dream context profile
create dream and lucid dream community
design and develop interactive VR narrative based on dream journal contexts
distinguish rem stage, lucid dreaming, etc
develop interactive audio sound track based on sleep monitoring
VR Dream Narrative
Target General Group | young adult (18 -40) familiar with consumer tech products
Responses | 102
Dreams Shared (Voluntary) | 53 (52%)
The study is highly focus on young adults with moderate consumer electronics usage as the development is trying to introduce digital interface with app and immersive products.
34.3% participants indicated that they need to stay-up late for work, while the average phone screen time per day is 5.15 hrs.
Participants have 2 or more consumer tech products besides smartphone/laptop/computer (e.g. VR headsets, Xbox, PS4, Amazon Hub).
The general sleep screening could filter out current negative situation of sleep experience for the target group, specifically “before bed time” activities.
Environment Quality for Sleep
Environment quality for sleeping (Bedroom Condition and Bedroom Habits) has a huge impact on sleep quality. Based on the screening, it is suggested that in a quite, dark and cool bedroom would significantly(60%~80%) reduce the time it takes to fall asleep as well as provide an all night sleep.
From the bedroom habits side, almost all participants tend to use phone before sleep, which make them harder to fall asleep. This phenomenon is due to information parsing from digital devices, screen lights etc.
An meditative practice before sleep characteristically similar to yoga or other low information and low emotion intense level practice but still on digital device might provide target user more pleasant "before bed" activities and the motivation to proactively improve their sleep habits and sleep quality.
Suggested data vis of sleep quality for user could based on [Regular Bed/Awake Time], [Time in Bed], [To Fall Asleep], [Fall Back to Sleep], [No. of Awakening], [Day Time Sleepiness].
Regular Bed Time 12:30 - 1:30 am
Regular Awake Time 9:00 - 10:00 am
Typical Hours in Bed 8 hrs
To Fall Asleep 0.90 hrs
Fall Back to Sleep 0.54 hrs
No Day Nap 53%
No Night Awakening 58.8%
Sleep Alone 67.6%
Using Phone Before Sleep 93.1%
Measuring Sleep Quality and Wellness
Current practice for measuring sleep quality is usually done in clinical practice. Nowadays, more and more digital product and wearable devices are developed to track sleep quality in a more self-driven and passive way. The survey shows that only 2.9% received clinical advises for sleep, 66.7% participant never invest on sleep and wellness while 49% participants experience daytime sleepiness and 34% have negative dream feedback. For monitoring and tracking, there are 20.6% participants using sleep tracking devices already, while only 9.8% keep dream journal.
To advocate sleep monitoring for wellness, a new form of sleep monitoring method can be developed with more comprehensive and proactive contents. Firstly, It might be effective to add on some self-check instruments in the dream platform for user to develop awareness of wellness at a daily basis. The self-check instruments could have some level of indication for daytime sleepiness along with sleep hours and schedule. Secondly, the analysis, documentation and monitoring of dream experience is also vital towards the completeness of sleep wellness.
Epworth Sleepiness Scacle: Dr Johns first developed the ESS for adults in 1990 and subsequently modified it slightly in 1997, which is to assess the ‘daytime sleepiness’.
ESS scores can be interpreted as follows:
0-5 Lower Normal Daytime Sleepiness
6-10 Higher Normal Daytime Sleepiness
11-12 Mild Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
13-15 Moderate Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
16-24 Severe Excessive Daytime Sleepiness
* ESS is tested with participants regarding to their ability to fall asleep during night.
People with lower ESS score for daytime sleepiness fall asleep faster during night than people with higher score, which indicates a better sleep quality.
Top Three Concerns:
“I experience daytime sleepiness
"my dream always makes me feel tired and negative...
"I have trouble falling/stay asleep
Dream screening would provide an overview of dreaming and potential users attitude, needs, lucid dream and dream journal interest.
Dream experience is a strong indication for sleep quality as well as emotional wellness, a reflection of personality and subconsciousness, a dictionary for personal history, current worries or future desires. Keep a dream journal regularly could help one self-reflect on sleep quality, understand inner-self and monitoring mental stage. From the results, about one from four participants have experienced recurring dreams, even recurring nightmares or lucid dreams, while 49% participants never recorded one dream.
Perspective Towards Dream
Participants leaning positive towards understanding dream and inner relations, and picturing dream more as to enhance creative ideas rather than for goal-oriented purpose.
Most of the participants experienced special categories like recurring dream dream dream, nightmares, and lucid dream at least several times a year. about 20% experienced them less than several times a month.
Most of people can remember dream several times a week and have the habit to share the dream with others several times a month. while around half participants never record one single dream.
“to learn more about myself and enhance creative ideas
>>> leaning positive towards understanding dream and inner relations rather than problem solving and systematical purpose
>>> leaning negative towards lucid dreaming
Dream Emotional Review and Content
Nightmare stress level is highly related to dream recurring frequency. People tend to feel more stressful when they wake up with frequent recurring nightmares.
People's emotional intensity of dream and nightmare recurring frequency also has a positive correlation. However it is not applicable for dream recurring situation in general, in fact, people dreams similar topic domain experience less intensive emotion in dream.
Popular Dream Topics
Participants tend to create their own topics as dream content is quite personal. A popular pool for creating hashtags could be better.
With the certain group of a young adult who has the habit of extensive digital devices usage before bed, there is a need to pursue more comprehensive self-care product for monitoring sleep and dream, they are also quite willing to invest in consumer tech products.
A new way of comprehensive sleep monitoring could have not only hours, schedule, and passive data, but also self-noted qualitative contents. A personal real-time profile report can be more effective. The report could contain clinical inspired questionnaires, commenting, dream journals, and analysis along with quantitative data visualization.
Before Bed Activities
The target user group's before-bed habits and sleep environment can be improved both physically and emotionally. The suggested method in which check on room environment could improve sleep quality. Suggested before-bed enhancement could be still based in digital to match the target group's habits but at a lower emotion intense level.
The target group usually has a positive attitude toward dream as a method to understand inner self and boost creative mind, while leaning negative towards the lucid dream.
Dream experience is a strong indication of sleep quality and subconsciousness. The target group mostly has the habit to share dreams with others while seldom keep a dream journal. A regular habit of dream journal with analysis, reflection, and social platform could be more effective.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic time, I arranged virtual follow up interview with 10 participants to empathize and understand the journey and pain points of their experiences.
Participant Selection Criteria:
> A pleasant community for sharing is always expected
Although many existing dream platforms have sharing and social aspects, sometimes it is quite disturbing for users to browsing into unwanted content from others. Tags and filters are expected to avoid this situation.
Sharing feature usually is highly identical to Reddit, however, given the fact that dream journal entries are sometimes long or choppy, focused groups might also be effective for a more engaged community.
> It is not about whether user want to understand their dream but how they can
Nearly everyone want a dream dictionary to look-up for dream interpretation, however, dreams are actually not universal. Every dream is identical thus only uncover pieces can't see the full scene.
A more comprehensive way for dream interpretation might be better for user to understand inner self. The platform shall advocate user to proactively interpret dreams with commenting, recall, emotion analysis, daily life, personal desire, or childhood memories.
> There needs to be statistics and analysis of all the dreams
It is quite common for people to access a report of nice visualization and statistic over view of sleep data, however, dream journals are usually just at a record level. There is no overview or progressive information for dream experience overtime.
> Huge concern for the reliability of saving and exporting documents
Long term dream journal keeper values their dream entries a lot. Properly saving and exporting docs into cloud or permanent storage is a must.
> Before bed screen time is beyond ones control because no other "do nothing choices"
Young adults tend to wonder around inside social media or other high information but low energy activities like watching Netflix etc. However, the habit is somewhat toxic regarding before the bed mood. Lower emotion intensity activities are recommended for sleep wellness.
Platform's before-the-bed feature shall have a simple UI and require low energy, provide low emotion intensity, which means it shall be meditative.
> Sleep monitoring/habit forming needs certain level of active feature or playfulness
Users are happy with passive monitoring deceives which can provide data report but these platforms only provide a glimpse of daily check-in. If users found the report indicating a negative results, they cannot get additional insight on how to improve or why and what content is related to the certain sleep&dream experiences.
User might want to enter or review period of significance , daily life reflection and dream entries more proactively if the platform can provide an immersive, highly personal and enclosed session.
> Bias for lucid dream is because of unfamiliarity, people want to have a try
There are a large group of people have tried to learn to become lucid, however, the tutorial, information or needed tools are all over the place and not structured in a more serious way.
The platform can have a lucid portal for lucid training together with community group and forums of lucid dream entries, experiences sharing.
> Dream journal functions have to be more customized but not forced
Dream platform users are of a wide variety, they have different expectations for daily usage. Some user might want to document dream in a highly engineered template while others might find it annoying and too extra to document mood, dream category, or other info in a template style.
People also have their own recording habits, like recording voices, sketching, besides typing out the stories.
The procedural development of the visual effects is based on individual particles, where all particles follows the same particle generation methodology with vertex displacement for raw EEG data streaming. There are four variables controlling the particle result:
# base variation is generated from a typical perlin noise map, driven by mutual stage eeg data
# roughness is the surface texture built on top of base variation
# the vertex displacement persistence, calculated for all vertex
# overall strength of base variation, calculated as force multiplication from center
Base variation is generated from a typical perlin noise map, driven by mutual stage eeg data. Multiple layers of variation is built on top of the base layer.
# base with a typical perlin noise map of mutual stage, layer two driven by eeg streaming
# base with mutual stage, layer two with eeg streaming, layer three with delta value of eeg data over time
Base variation is generated from a typical perlin noise map, driven by mutual stage eeg data. Multiple layers of variation is built on top of the base layer.
# A rotation and pausing streaming visual is applied when user is trained to maintain a high focus on breathing
# A simple interface of mental controlled particle is tested in unity for Emotiv system. The plain performance has nearly no delay but requires user to practice. Simple and clear visualization for particle system is suggested for interaction design.