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It sounds like something out of science fiction films such as Inception, but a new gadget has allowed MIT scientists to plant ideas in people’s dreams. 

Researchers used an app combined with a sleep tracking device to “plant” ideas in people’s minds as they slept. 

The monitor waits for people to enter a suggestible stage of sleep, then the app plays a message telling them to think about trees.

Two-thirds of volunteers who heard the prompt, went on to dream about trees. 

Read more: Bizarre dreams caused by lockdown

The researchers describe the technique as “targeted dream incubation”, LiveScience reported. 

The research relies on the sleep-tracking device (called Dormio) detecting an early sleep stage known as “hypnagogia”.

Hypnagogia (the earliest sleep stage) is similar to the REM stage, but people can still hear audio during hypnagogia while they dream. 

Lead researcher Haar Horowitz said, “This state of mind is trippy,

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Imagine strapping on a wearable device before you hit the bed. You fall asleep, and at a certain point, the gadget guides your dreams and even records them. This is not a work of science fiction — but a reality, created in a lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

MIT scientists have developed a sleep-tracking gadget named Dormio. It can alter dreams by manipulating a sleep stage called hypnagogia, which occurs when the mind transitions from experiencing drowsiness to a time when it loses consciousness. Individuals that enter hypnagogia can hear audio while they dream, unlike the Rapid eye movement (REM) stage, where most of the dreaming happens. They have published their findings in the Journal Consciousness and Cognition.

The device may help boost creativity or improve memory. It may help build new commercial technologies that can affect sleep onset, sleep quality, sleep-based memory consolidation, and learning, Dr Pattie

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