A psychologist from the University of Hertfordshire has created an iPhone app designed to manipulate dreams, and he's looking for volunteers to test it out. It's all part of a study launched by Prof. Richard Wiseman, who teamed up with software company YUZA to develop Dream:ON -- an app that monitors users' behavior during sleep and plays specific "soundscapes" as they dream. According to the researchers, each of these sound patterns has been calibrated to conjure up especially pleasant images, which, they hope, will influence a user's dreams.
The idea behind Dream:ON is rather straightforward. Before going to bed, users must first set an alarm on their handsets, along with an accompanying ringtone. They'll also be prompted to choose which soundscape they want piped in during their sleep cycle. Once those fields have been entered, testers will have to plug in their iPhones to an external power source, and leave it turned on for the duration of their slumber. Throughout the night, Dream:ON will monitor a sleeper's movements using the iPhone's microphone. The app will begin playing the pre-selected soundscape about 20 minutes before the scheduled wake up time, but only if a user's movements have subsided (an indication that she's entered REM sleep).
If all goes to plan, these sounds will seep their way into her dreams, though their effects remain to be seen. That's why Wiseman is asking all volunteers to fill out a dream report after each test, in the hopes that their feedback will provide some insight into his app's effectiveness. After a few months, the researcher will review all submitted reports, and if Dream:ON proves successful, more soundscapes -- both free and paid -- could be in the works. For now, the app is available as a free download on the App Store, though an Android version is expected to launch later this year.