'Shadow' app hopes to create database of dreams

Credit: Shadow

Last night, I sat around a bonfire, sipping whiskey with my best friends, when the flames rose up in the form of a large turtle with a shark’s head. A creature chased us into the giant carrot where we’d be living. No, I didn’t dose acid last night, but I did go to sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what happened once I entered the carrot, because humans have an incredibly difficult time remembering dreams (we forget an estimated 95 percent within five minutes of waking).

Cue Shadow, an app with two purposes: to help you remember (thus record) your dreams and to create a dream database from users across the globe.

The hardware here is pretty straightforward. Rather than megaphone you awake, Shadow’s alarm wakes you slowly. Once you’re awake, it immediately asks you to record your dream via voice or text.

The cool part: It takes all of those dreams and stores them in a digital dream journal that tracks your sleep and dream patterns over time. If you want, this can be private, but you can also add your sleep/dream patterns to a worldwide database. The information from said database will be used to analyze these patterns in general (looking to answers questions such as "Does sleeping more give people more or less dreams? Happier or sadder dreams? Etc.)

“There’s a lot going on in the subconscious mind that if you can start to pull out little details, you start to get a wider picture of yourself,” says Hunter Lee Soik, one of Shadow’s designers. “We’re socialized to think of sleep as inactivity, but certain parts of our brain — the parts that handle things like problem solving and memory — are most active while we’re sleeping. That’s a huge amount of potential data we’re forgetting each morning.”

At the moment, Shadow is a barebones app with a Kickstarter campaign (and a killer promo vid) to further inform the designers of what users hope to gain from it. Check out its (promo) video below.

Shadow, via Wired

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