Once in a while a film comes along that makes you wonder if everything is as it seems, and Inception certainly had many people questioning their realities. Leonardo DiCaprio leads a heist through the subconscious in pursuit of the ultimate prize — getting home to his family. The plan revolves around entering unsuspecting sleeping minds to manipulate entire dream states. Thankfully, such hijacking isn’t possible, but what is terrifyingly possible is that others can see your dreams.
At the University of California, Berkeley, fMRI and computational models have led to the successful decoding and reconstruction of dreams. While it can currently only do so for the visual experience of pre-watched movies by recognizing pre-determined input being visualized, researchers consider this the first step in being able to map and share the unique dream patterns experienced by an individual. The only thing worse than a nightmare may yet be watching someone else’s come alive.
Manipulation wise, devices such as the Aurora Dream-Enhancing Headband are being crowdfunded to enable a simple pathway to lucid dreaming. By tracking REM sleep, the headband subconsciously alerts the sleeper with lights that they’re in a dream state. Theoretically, the dreamer can then begin to control the landscape they find themselves in. Its effectiveness is yet to be reviewed, but it marks a strong technological step towards inviting DiCaprio into your mind each night.