The technology engineer — and self-proclaimed wannabe cyborg — [Tomás Vega] has been developing a device with other researchers at the MIT Media Lab that could help people shape their own dreams. So when he tested it himself, Vega recorded the Oompa Loompa song from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” and instructed the device, called Dormio, to play it to him as he drifted off.
Sure enough, Vega told LiveScience, his semi-conscious mind conjured the iconic scene.
Vega and his colleagues tested Dormio on group of 50 people this summer. Their results, published [August] in the journal Consciousness and Cognition, suggested that Dormio could indeed spur people to dream about topics of their choosing.
The Dormio system consists of two parts. The first is an app that can play and record audio; the second is a wearable device that attaches to a person’s wrist, forefinger, and middle finger. The device monitors a wearer’s heart rate, the position of their fingers, and other cues to track sleeping patterns.
Dormio activates when its users enter hypnagogia, the earliest stage of sleep.
“This state of mind is trippy, loose, flexible, and divergent,” Dr. Adam Haar Horowitz, the lead author of the recent study, told MIT News in July. “It’s like turning the notch up high on mind-wandering and making it immersive.”