Presomnic Image Permanence Device & Dreamscapes

Fictional devices born out of the commodification of sleep
12 Dec 2018

This is a col­lec­tion of fic­tion­al prod­ucts and ser­vices made in the con­text of a work­shop with IASS . Inspired by the work of Yukiya­su Kami­tani on AI and deep brain imag­ing, which can be gross­ly summed up as a Shaz­a­am for the brain of sorts, these arte­facts and ser­vices depict a future in which dreams and neur­al activ­i­ty dur­ing sleep has been commodified. 

Press Clipping in Diegesis: 'Making the Most Sleep'

The col­lab­o­ra­tion between Dan­ish start-up Swefn and mem­bers from Yukiya­su Kamitani's brain imagery lab­o­ra­to­ry at Kyoto Uni­ver­si­ty, 'Dream­scapes' is at the fore­front of research in dream print­ing. The com­pa­ny released its first pro­to­type last year: a unique MRI scan­ner small and silent enough to fit into a lin­tel over a bed, and announced it would hit the mar­ket in the sec­ond half of next year.
	Dream­scapes promis­es an easy way to make the most of one's dreams. After train­ing the pat­tern-recog­ni­tion AI, biosig­nals emit­ted by the brain are cap­tured dur­ing a user's sleep and trans­formed into a dig­i­tal media archive of any neur­al activ­i­ty which can be explored after wak­ing up — a sort of 3D dream view­er. These dream media can be manip­u­lat­ed and curat­ed dur­ing a pre-sleep ses­sion of sug­ges­tive exer­cis­es, gen­er­at­ed to match desired top­ics with vary­ing accu­ra­cy depend­ing on the per­son. A pre­mi­um 'Mate­r­i­al Pack­age' lets users export iso­lat­ed dream ele­ments as well as entire time­lines into a for­mat print­able at home, at the local copy­shop, or through a ded­i­cat­ed ser­vice Swefn is plan­ning to estab­lish. All-in-all, this ser­vice has already encoun­tered sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess among beta-testers who were delight­ed to revis­it their dreams, find lost pass­words, explore trau­mas they weren't aware of, and for some, to even fine-tune their sleep­ing habits toward a gain of pro­duc­tiv­i­ty.  
	The com­pa­ny says they will also offer a freemi­um ser­vice spon­sored by Alpha­bet-owned pilot project Pul­sar, which will in return be grant­ed sug­ges­tive adver­tis­ing rights into a user's dream­scape, with some restric­tions how­ev­er: ads can be broad­cast­ed only dur­ing the last fif­teen min­utes before the alarm clock, thus only act­ing on short-term mem­o­ry. The ads are broad­cast through 'dream induc­tion', a rel­a­tive­ly sim­ple process using sub­lim­i­nal, low-fre­quen­cy waves of encod­ed sound as well as video mes­sages; a process orig­i­nat­ing in 'Pre­som­nic Image Per­ma­nence Train­ing' to trig­ger lucid dreams. 
	The Guin­ness book of World Records has already expressed inter­est in open­ing a 'dream cat­e­go­ry' antic­i­pat­ing that, once accu­rate­ly observ­able, sleep­ing would be a new fron­tier for con­tes­tants to achieve things yet unat­tain­able by the phys­i­cal self.
The tech­nol­o­gy behind Swefn's Dream­scapes is, in essence, the same that enabled ground-brak­ing sen­so­ry exper­i­ments just two years pri­or to this ven­ture, where bio­hack­ers were able to exchange their sen­so­ry input among each oth­er, a process that cul­mi­nat­ed with the sen­so­ry record­ing of artist Byron Sanders' death, made "fee­lable" to all as an open-source data set. The exper­i­ments would be far from over though, as the French FIAC (Iner­na­tion­al Fund for Con­tem­po­rary Art) would soon con­firm a col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Euro­pean Space Agency to launch the first Deep Space Sens­ing probe, a device no big­ger than a poo­dle packed with sen­sors. The 'Space­sense' now lets  peo­ple phys­i­cal­ly feel space—smell, sound, and grav­i­ta­tion­al pulls includ­ed. The device, it is thought, might help in new ther­a­pies against anx­i­ety, ADHD, and post-trau­mat­ic stress disorders.
Worth Reading

Decod­ing the Visu­al and Sub­jec­tive Con­tents of the Human Brain, by Yukiya­su Kami­tani & Frank Tong, 2005