The name of the project is Shadow, and the inventor is thirty-one-year-old Hunter Lee Soik. The free app is an alarm clock that wakes you gradually, then starts recording when you shut it off.
He tells The New Yorker: “Modern alarm clocks destroy dreams, because they rip you through your hypnopompic sleep state, the state between sleeping and waking. The idea is to come out slowly—we gradually increase the vibration and the volume. When you shut off the alarm, the app records. You can speak or text a dream. If you speak, it will transcribe the audio, then we’ll run an algorithm through the dream and pull out all the keywords. ‘Horses,’ airplanes,’ ‘red cars,’ ‘running,’ ‘jumping.’ Then we’ll push the whole dream through a big data cloud, so that we can anonymously organize the global data.”
Soik hopes the app will create global patterns of dreams, and somehow glean meaning from them. “Can you quantify the dreams of successful people, and can you teach that? Could we run an algorithm against the news and find people who predict events in their dreams? They say that Einstein came up with the theory of relativity in a dream. What if you could go back and find that dream?”
When I was a child, I had a recurring dream that I was running from a giant wave of vomit… TMI?
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