Lucid Dream Mask
This sleep mask not only blocks out external light, it can also help induce lucid dreams.
To start with, the device will only include two LEDs that blink or flash to give you a visual indicator to look for in your dreams. If you notice the repeating pattern in your dream, hopefully you will become aware of the dream without waking up.
In the dream, the flashing lights may show up as any number of things. Flashing police lights or just flashes of sunlight might actually be caused by the lights in the sleep mask. You should learn to recognize the pattern as an indication you might be dreaming.
The sleep mask itself can be sewed together from whatever soft scraps of material you can find or you might modify an already made sleep mask.
To control the device, I started out with an Aduino type microprocessor but then decided to switch to the smaller ATtiny85 chip to make a cheaper and smaller device. The Arduino is still used to program the ATtiny chip but then the chip can be removed from the programming breadboard and used separate. I have 3 'AA' batteries soldered up in series and it powers the little chip. It could probably use watch type batteries or possibly even a single 3 volt coin type battery. If you incorporate a 5 volt regulator into the circuit, you could also use a 9 volt (or other size) battery but I wanted to keep it as simple as possible for the first, test build.
The sketch or program to be loaded onto the chip can be very simple with just a timer, some delay(xxx); commands to wait the desired amount of time for you to fall asleep, and a sequence of commands to flash, blink, or pulse your LEDs in some sort of pattern.
It should be possible to modify that sketch to run on any version of the Arduino type microprocessor. The idea is simple enough that you could easily modify the basic blink program to make your own program but feel free to use my code as is or modified any way you like.
The first night of using this device, I had the program wrong and the lights flashed too often. After fixing the sketch, the second night worked better. The brightness of the LEDs was still too bright and it hasn't caused me to have any lucid dreams yet.
After using the device now for three nights, I almost got a lucid dream. The brightness of the LEDs is still too high but I had a dream where I was wearing the mask (seeing the flashes) and realized I was dreaming but woke up probably because of the bright flashing lights.
It will take a bit more adjusting of the program to get everything right and the mask itself could be more comfortable but the results so far a very promising. Obviously, being able to detect REM sleep and only flashing the lights during that time would probably work better but this simple timer controlled device should still work.
Fifth night of using the sleep mask and still no lucid dreams. The mask and/or the flashing lights do show up in my dreams but, so far, I haven't recognized it as a sign that I was dreaming.
Gotta start practicing reality checks.