How to Make a Simple REM Detector for $10

Hi Everybody,

I don’t come 'round these parts too often anymore, and will probably disappear in a moment or two – but before I go, I’d like to let everyone know how to build an REM detector that attaches to your computer…

First, buy an optical mouse. These don’t have a ball on the bottom, instead they have a little camera that detects motion, and a (usually red) light that lets the camera see what’s below it. I bought one for $9.

Second, plug it into your computer.

Third, take your mouse and put it up against your closed eyelid. If you wiggle your eyeballs, you’ll notice that the cursor wiggles on the screen.

Now, the only problem with this is that the LED that lights up the bottom of the mouse kinda shines in your eyes… The solution is to open up the mouse and replace the (usually red) LED with an infrared LED. The camera is almost certainly just as sensitive to infrared light, even if your eyes can’t see it. Make sure you get the polarity (positive & negative ends) of the LED correct, otherwise it won’t work… Strap it to your head, and you’re done!

You also look silly! :content:

Now all that’s left is to write a simple program for your computer that detects mouse movement, and flashes lights or plays sounds or keeps a record – depending on what you’re trying to do…

Interesting! I actually put my mouse over my eye. :rofl: I was like “no way!”

and well, it does work indeed. :shy:

I don’t think writing a simple program would be that hard. I was just wondering how to attach the mouse (or take it appart) to your head so it doesn’t move and can actually get the eye movements…

LOL. I can just imagine my mum seeing me with a mouse attatched to my head going to bed.
What is the effect once the program picks up that you’re in REM, a light, or a sound?

A program shouldn’t be too hard to create, I think. I’ll see what I can do…

Great Idea, by the way. Although I think infrared light might hurt your eyes or something - better check that!

I actually did this a while back. I had the program written and everything(which btw if you do it right, it really works well…can even track your exact up-down and left-right movement); then my computer crashed…yea, I was pissed. But, it does work well, Ill see if I ever get around to making another one. I personally used a wireless mouse…but still couldnt get the range far enough from my desktop…I do have a laptop now though, so who knows, maybe Ill try this again. If you wanted to get techie/help minimize the size you could just use the optical mouse’s chip which is simply a small camera independently and make your own interface. I don’t know if I’ll have time to play with this, but good luck :happy:

I was thinking about this last night. The computer could record results of yoru REM sleep into an excel sheet. So it shows at what time you entered REM, how long it lasted ect…
You can then see your entire sleep pattern, (very useful for WBTB)

Yeah, that would be interesting. We could even try something like LaBerge’s experiments and do some kind of eye signal… :tongue:

these are great ideas

i could try and remember how to program and make one, but i’m hoping other people already know how

my question is if you roll over might it send a false REM to the computer?

Well, it could probably me made so that if there was enough REM activity in that minuite, then it’ll think that you’re in REM.

Well, I’ve started playing around with some different code for it. If I could get some input as to different features it would need, that’d be helpful. Also, Im kinda playing back and forth with the idea of not just having it save the data to excel, but actually be a plugin to excel… One problem with using excel though is I’d have to make it compatible for both 2003/2007. So, anyways, any ideas/suggestions would be helpful.

Rarebreed - you could try and use a CSV or something, but I think the best idea will be to make your own statistics - save it to a file in whatever format you want and read it only with your program (What language are you using?)

True, I could do a CSV and avoid the whole problem of whether or not people have excel installed. I’ll have to think about that. Currently I’m using Visual Basic…which the only problem with that is I doubt the program will work on a mac or a computer running linux.

edit: I just played around a little with CSV, I think that is probably the best way to go since I could have my program use it and then if anyone wanted to they could load it into excel.

if you leave the original LED in the mouse it’ll probly work like that if it’s not too bright and wakes you up…or blinds you haha

Well, I think by the eye signal they meant that we could indicate to someone outside in the “real” world that we were dreaming by moving our eyes in a pattern. And to the idea of using the original LED, it is very bright usually. Also, although it does go into sleep mode, even the slightest movement wakes it back up… so not a very good indicator that you are truly in REM.

Sorry about bumping the old thread, but I was wondering if there were any updates on this project.

No, sorry, I just got carried away with some other projects. I did start pulling some old optical mice out though, it’d be nice if I could rig something up that read the chip directly. But as to the actual program, tell me what you want and I can try to throw something together.

Wow, I didn’t know that so many of you here were programmers (like me)… haha!

EDIT: I’ve just found that the RTDSC instruction is accurate up to seven weeks of constant use!