Stepping Away, Dozing Off
Well, it's been a little longer than the "few weeks" I said that I'd take to test my little lucid dream inducer. But at last I am here to divulge the results! Sadly, as you may have guessed already at this point, my hypothesis did not stand. Try as I might, not once did the device give me any better luck in lucid dream induction. However, I did learn a few useful lessons in design as a result, as well as gain some insight into the way we react to external stimuli while asleep.
The first thing I learned - and very early on - is that it is very easy to be uncomfortable while trying to get to sleep. I wore the device without any problems for two weeks before attempting to sleep with it on, during this time I barely noticed it; it fit extremely well under both jeans and thinner trousers and nobody else seemed to notice it was there either (something that I was extremely relieved to discover - as I think it would have been fairly easy to confuse it with a geotag and assume that I had an azbo) from the leg strap.
Despite this, I found that when it came to sleeping with the device on, within minutes of attempting to make myself comfy and ready to sleep I became intently aware of the battery box attached to the side and the pad digging into my shin. I had worried that the vibration from the device would wake me up, however I actually found that once I had managed to fall asleep the thing to wake me up again wasn't the motor activating but the battery box; I found that it caught on my other leg and made me feel tangled, ultimately leading me to take it off in a sort of half-asleep trance at about 5 in the morning.
After a few days of this I switched to only using the device at weekends, as a sleep schedule like that was not conducive to my work habits. This combined with other distractions was what ultimately lead to the delays in this post.
The battery pack itself had three 350mAh AAA rechargeable batteries in it, and these lasted an admirable length of time - about 2 weeks after a full charge. Considering that those batteries are five or so years old and I've seen some on Amazon that are 1200mAh capacity, I definitely choose a much too large power source for the project. It would have been much more sensible for me to go with a small collection of three or so button-cell batteries instead of trying to be a cheapskate and use what I had laying around.
The fact that the vibrations never managed to get through to me in my sleep is quite interesting and could be down to a number of factors. First and foremost, I could just be wrong in thinking that it would, I really had no evidence to base my theory off of apart from my own experiences of falling out of bed and my knowledge of that one prank that people do. It could also be that the vibration wasn't powerful enough, or that I'm simply an extremely heavy sleeper (I have been known to fall asleep in very uncomfortable locations). However, it does lead me to believe that perhaps some other devices on the market that claim to induce lucidity using external stimuli such as light and sound may not work as well as they're advertised.
In the end, though ultimately the device may not let me surf the subconscious waves, the making of it has taught me some useful things to watch out for in future projects - not to mention been the driving force to get me to get my 3D printer working up to scratch again, something that I'll be using more throughout my next projects.
For now, I think it is time for me to step away from the void that is the subconscious and focus on something more tangible. I've realised that for someone who works in artificial intelligence, there's not much on the subject here, so perhaps that shall be the centre of my next post. In the mean time, if any of you want to try the lucid dream inducer for yourselves then you can find build instructions on GitHub. If you don't have a 3D printer or just want an inducer without the hassle of construction, then feel free to drop me a message and I'd be happy to help out.
If you want to keep updated on my projects, feel free to follow me on twitter. Until next time!