It may sound like something from a sci-fi film, but scientists have created a device that they believe can control the content of someone’s dreams.

It appears that, fantastical as it sounds, manipulating the images that appear during sleep is within the realms of modern science.

Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that a wearable device called Dormio was able to perform targeted dream incubation.

The crucial time is at the very start of sleep when the person is half-awake and half-asleep; a period known as hypnagogia.

During hypnagogia, people can hear and that ability to process sound makes targeted dream incubation possible.

The Dormio is worn on the wrist, like a glove. The subject is then given prompts during the period of hypnagogia.

USA, New Jersey, Man sleeping in bed

Studies have seen test subjects brought in and out of the state of hypnagogia to test whether audio cues can impact on the content of their dreams.

The research paper from MIT states: “The aim of the current study is to assess the ability of Dormio to identify the sleep onset period and successfully manipulate the content of hypnagogic dream report through pre-sleep verbal prompts.”

So far, the results have been encouraging.

In a test, subjects were prompted to think of a tree during their dream and 67 percent of those tested reported a tree being in their dream.

If this technology does become reliable it has many possible uses, beyond the obvious evil or Inception-based ones.

The researchers write that they intend to explore the relationship between dreams and memory creation.

Dormio could be a very useful tool in learning and it has even been suggested that the technique could inspire greater creativity.

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