Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Design Specifications for an iPhone based hypnagogia app

To give a little background, I spent part of my winter break looking into the feasibility of this project and unfortunately Apple's app store policies wouldn't let this fly (they don't like it when you use private APIs).

Here it is anyway...

Who is it for?

Anyone with an iPhone and a creative mind that is interested in exploring [un]consciousness.

What does it do?

The app is intended to aid in the production of hypnagogia imagery, similar to Salvador Dali's spoon technique.

How does it work?

Utilizing the iPhones earbud Play/Pause buttons, the user would hold down the center button until they began to sleep. As their body lost consciousness the button would be released, starting a count-down timer set previously. At the end of the count-down an alarm would go off, waking the person up.

Why do it this way?

The advantage of this system in comparison to similar methods is that it would allow the user stay in the hypnotic state for a longer period of time and in theory, "dive deeper" into the unconscious mind. Other methods (holding your hand up in the air, a spoon over a metal plate, etc.) only offer a split second for  hypnagogia to take place.

As a side note, this idea is almost possible with the built-in iOS alarm clock, which begins its count-down when the button is released. However, I think it would be difficult to convince people to intentionally drop their $600 phone on the floor when there are much simpler methods out there.

Future Developments

I would be interested in revisiting this idea with low-cost open-hardware like the Raspberry Pi or Arduino but for now I'm going to stick with the spoon ;-)