Dream recording device possible, better get mydreamscape.org up

Go Deeper

My boss Adrian sent me a very interesting tweet which linked to a article on bbc news from Nature.

Dream recording device ‘possible’ researcher claims

Writing in the journal Nature, scientists say they have developed a system capable of recording higher level brain activity.

"We would like to read people’s dreams," says the lead scientist Dr Moran Cerf.

The aim is not to interlope, but to extend our understanding of how and why people dream.

Theres some interesting parts to the article including this one.

"There’s no clear answer as to why humans dream," according to Dr Cerf. "And one of the questions we would like to answer is when do we actually create this dream?" Dr Cerf makes his bold claim based on an initial study which he says suggests that the activity of individual brain cells, or neurons, are associated with specific objects or concepts.

He found, for example, that when a volunteer was thinking of Marilyn Monroe, a particular neuron lit up. By showing volunteers a series of images, Dr Cerf and his colleagues were able to identify neurons for a wide range of objects and concepts – which they used to build up a database for each patient. These included Bill and Hilary Clinton, the Eiffel Tower and celebrities. So by observing which brain cell lit up and when, Dr Cerf says he was effectively able to "read the subjects’ minds".

I’m really interested in this stuff too. My thought is somewhat consistent with the memetics theory.

A meme, analogous to a gene, is an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour (etc.) which is "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and which can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself. As with genetics, particularly under Dawkins’s interpretation, a meme’s success may be due its contribution to the effectiveness of its host (i.e., a the meme is a useful, beneficial idea), or may be "selfish", in which case it could be considered a "virus of the mind."

Anyway, before I drop into the theory behind dream science and how one method is maybe better that the other… Some people have wondered whats happened to mydreamscape.org?

Well at the moment I’m running a modified version of Status.net (open microblogging system) in the backend. I’ve decided that after watching the Social network (the facebook movie) its maybe more important that I get something up even if it doesn’t have all the functionality that I described or would want in the previous blog post or the slideshow. So right now I’m taking the advice from Imran Ali and dropped the ability to hide stuff (levels).

On the system side, I’m ummming and errrring between a few options…

  1. Ideally I would have the framework which runs Flickr (hopefully Caterina Fake and Stewart Butterfield are listening) and I would adapt it to mydreamscape.org.
  2. Second ideal option I would use Diaspora once its publicly available. I’m watching it with quite keen interest.
  3. Thirdly I would use W3c’s Anotea server if I can actually work out how to install it. That would mean you would need to download some browsers extras to comment, collaborate and annotate other peoples dreams. But then you would have a robust annotation system instead of just comments.
  4. I’ve consider using a standard solution like drupal and even alfresco to do the bulk of the work. In actual fact I’m very interested in Drupal because I spotted the Drupal Social Network Framework (unfortunately it seems very early days).
  5. Using microblogging platform Status.net, Blojsom or WordPress with maybe Anotea as a kicker for real annotations.
  6. Write something custom…

In addition I’ve started writing my own dreams down in an app called Rednotebook which is an example of the kind of app I would like to attached to mydreamscape. Maybe once things are up and running I could modify the source code to include sync with mydreamscape.org or something…

I also have something big up my sleeve for mydreamscape.org and its founded on Ludicorp’s original idea for Flickr (Game Never Ending). Have a guess what it is…

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.