Curing Insomnia With VR Light Shows, Ambient Music, And Interactive Beds

Inducing restfulness via kaleidoscopic visuals and ambient music.

Originally developed as part of a public art installation by PluginHUMAN, a group of creators based out of RMIT University’s Exertion Games Lab, Inter-Dream is garnering the attention of researchers and sleep specialists who believe the unique device could be used to improve the sleep quality of those suffering from restlessness. 

Developed by art duo Dr. Betty Sargeant and Justin Dwyer, Inter-Dream combines VR technology, kaleidoscopic visuals, manually-controlled ambient music, and an interactive bed to deliver a calming, stress-free virtual environment which can assist users in falling asleep.

By conducting an electroencephalogram (EEG) test, the system is able to track an individuals brain pattern and assign each brainwave a specific color; the more active a person’s brain, the greater and more chaotic the visuals. The idea is that by providing users with a calming spectacle of color-changing visuals, the subject will eventually lull themselves to sleep watching their own brainwave patterns. 

According to a study conducted by PhD researcher Nathan Semertzidis at the RMIT University’s Exertion Games Lab, participants reported a 21% decrease in negative emotion and a whopping 51% decrease in fear after using Inter-Dream. Feelings of serenity, on the other hand, increased by 13%

Image Credit: RMIT University

“Technology and sleep are always talked about as incompatible,” said Semertzidis in an official release by RMIT University. “Our findings flip that notion upside down and show how technology can also aid rest and relaxation.”

“Some of them reported really going on a journey by manipulating the system with their minds. This is no trivial notion in the context of inducing positive pre-sleep states, as it has been well documented that creative expression is strongly associated with positive effects on emotion and affect.”

“Our findings are really significant in pointing a possible way forward using neurofeedback technology to facilitate restfulness and sleep onset,” added Associate Professor Fabio Zambetta, Semertzidis’ supervisor and co-author of the study.

Feature Image Credit: RMIT University

About the Scout

Former Writer (Kyle Melnick)

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