Quirks & Quarks

Can we control computers with our dreams?

Lucid dreaming is the ability to realize you're dreaming then take control of that dream.
Can we control our computers with our dreams? (Quirks & Quarks graphic)

Have you ever woken up inside of a dream and realized you were dreaming? Many people claim they have and say they've even able to take control of their dreams to do things like fly or confront their nightmares. This is a phenomenon known as lucid dreaming. 

When Remy Mallet, a cognitive neuroscience graduate student at the University of Texas Austin, was an undergrad at the University of Missouri, he was inspired by a science news story out of Brown University. A woman who was paralyzed was able to control a robotic prosthetic limb using her mind. So, using a computer rigged up to respond to brain signals, he went to sleep, started dreaming, took control of that dream and actually completed a computer task from within his dream. He sees this as a potential way to communicate with other people from within dreams. 

(Quirks )

Dr. Ursula Voss, a professor of psychology at Goethe University, Frankfurt, in Germany, has studied lucid dreaming. She says something very unusual happens in the brains of lucid dreamers when they wake up within their dreams. They have a partial awakening in the frontal regions of their brain while the rest of their brain tries to maintain sleep. Dr. Voss says lucid dreaming can be a great tool for helping people, especially those with PTSD, to overcome recurring nightmares. 

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Produced and written by Sonya Buyting