The Lucid Dreaming App for iPhone
I intend to keep updating this page with the development news about the iphone app, so stay tuned for more updates!
Development Diary Day 15.
The prototype armband is ready and I’m entering into testing. I found a more sophisticated sleep scoring algorithm that I’ll implement in the next few days. I found a bunch of glitches with the app and fixed them. I’m making progress on the graphics side. The app is getting to the point where I can no longer blog about it without screwing myself in the future. So I will not talk about specifics of the app anymore. Total media blackout!
Development Diary Day 14.
Today I found my first major bug. The app is getting very complex internally. It is a state machine with multiple distinct pieces working together using the command design pattern. It’s easy to understand how each individual piece works, but when I chain 3 or 4 of them together, it’s easy to miss some bugs. Unfortunately something did not work quite as expected and I’m still not sure how I fixed that! I had made some progress on the business plan and the music front. The app now has built – in audio to work as a reminder! From my past experiments I figured that not just any audio will work, so I’m preparing something very special. Simple, but special!
Development Diary Day 13.
Today I spent most of the day working on a business plan to present to potential investors. The app is coming along nicely, and has quite a lot of functionality. Some of it surprises me! Today I fully realized my destiny. I will become the next Steve Jobs. In the past couple weeks, I understood what Steve was planning for the iPhone and I will take it where it should be. The vision in my mind is incredibly clear. I finally can reconcile a lot of discrete experiences that I have had over the years into one clear, grand vision, and it’s abundantly clear. This will happen. It’s funny, because from this day, I will be living as a man who knows the future.
I’ve sketched a couple prototypes of the app’s icons. They look pretty good. It is amazing, that all throughout the development, I use iPhone as a tool for everything, from images to audio recording
Development Diary Day 12 (10/09/2011):
Today I spent most of the day designing another view controller and doing interface work. The app is starting to look very fresh. There’s a lot of animation, brand new UI yet with familiar iPhone UI just a touch away.
The new view controller would have to represent some of the most complex information for the app: Smart Timer events. Lots of people had problem with this functionality, so I made it more evident. The UI is still out of this world though.
I’ve also made very good progress on the solar clock. It is now complete! At the end of the day I found good pie chart and graphing libraries, making the data analysis easier in the next few days
Development Diary Day 11:
Today I did not accomplish much due to a dentist appointment and only 5 hours of sleep last night. I spent most of the day tired, and took a nap in the middle of the day. I was suprised to actually have spontaneous DILD, where I performed a clock reality check. I really wanted to see what the app would look like in a dream, but for safety reasons I decided to move my car off the middle of the street first. In the few seconds that it took me to drive to the side of the street, the dream ended. On the bright side, I took 6mg melatonin in an attempt to reset my sleep pattern and slept really deeply with many enjoyable dreams!
Development Diary Day 10:
I will pull no punches and say that today I’m a genius
. I realize what Leonardo Da Vinci
must have felt as he designed his flying machines hundreds of years ago. Today I’m designing a new clock. A clock for the 21st century. It
integrates everything that I know about the universe. It transcends time and shows you how abstract it really is. Time comes alive in this new magical timepiece! All the math and geometry that I use is so easy and flowing. I perfectly sketch it in my notepad. I apply proportions. It is elegance that will transcend worlds. And it is there to keep us aware in our dreams. It shows you enlightenment in 59 seconds.
At this moment, I’m grateful for all the education that I’ve received over 17 years of school and college. Much of it was rebelled against at that point. But right now, this knowledge re-awakens and removes barriers on my way almost as quickly as they disappear!
I’ve been exposed to a lot of math, science and engineering, in my education. Today this education paid off. The science is no longer in dusty books, it is alive in my head.
Today, as I’m laying out the elements of the interface, it is all coming together. Radians, degrees, pixels and cycles. Today I’m using them to describe the real world, rather than solve some training program to be praised by the teacher. Numbers and ratios come alive, and the result is simple: The worlds most complex clock, that would be able to be operated by you, the user! This clock would tell you about how your body feels, and will allow you to make educated decisions about your bedtime, rise time, lucid dreaming attempts time… And all of it because I can split a circle according to a certain ratio… That is math and geometry, that is true engineering! And with that, we are one step closer to singularity.
Oh, and I have arranged for a prototype of the iPhone holder to be made. The phone has enough juice to survive overnight within the holder. The previous algorithm no longer works, and I need to create a new one.
I bought a trenchcoat at a thrift store. Together with some cool shades, I’ll look like the guy from Deus Ex with that thing on my arm.
Development Diary Day 9:
The future of the lucid dreaming app
I love iPhone. It’s possibilities are so numerous! Any image taken on an iphone will look exactly the same on any other iphone of the same make. I get tricked by my own screenshots – I try to push buttons on them!
Today I compiled a proposal to a local business incubator and mailed it, now I’m awaiting reply. One of my friends may be able to help me manufacture a special carrying case for the device. Things are looking bright!
I spent some time playing with animations and did battery testing. My device discharges at a rate of about 10% per hour while running animations with the screen on and using both accelerometer and a gyro. With some memory and cpu management, I would be able to keep most iphones alive overnight. This would allow for the phone to be placed in an armband, achieving true wrist actigraphy! On top of the usual activity count, this would show the position of the body, number of times the user has turned over, and most importantly would be able to detect dreams through actigraphy much more accurately!
Development Diary Day 8:
Early prototype of the GUI for the Lucid Dreaming App for iphone. The device redefines what it is to be aware
Once again I’m up at 4 AM! This can hinder the app’s testing, but I got a lot accomplished. I’ve taken a look at the local small business incubators, and there’s one nearby. It is a technology incubator and I will see how they can help make the app a better one!
Today I continued to work on the user interface and here’s when it dawned upon me. The possibilities of an iPhone in terms of graphics are tremendous. It’s view hierarchy is composed of layers, allowing me to create a stack of transparent layers, dynamically changing their color and (potentially running animations under the current layer!) I’ve taken the best UI elements that I know of and have applied them to the app. There will be side swiping navigation between a small number of controllers. No more nested menus. Everything is clear and concise and right at the fingertips!
The controls themselves are transformed. There’s no need of buttons or menus. The buttons themselves become indicators of activity. The background image may be brought to life with animation!
Development Diary Day 7:
The app worked overnight and I collected a set whooping 28000 data points. A glitch in the dream detector caused it to enter a temporary shutdown state quite often, so I never heard the reminder. I’d say the Alpha version is 75% functionality complete. Graphics and Music work just started.
Today I did a lot of business planning stuff. I outlined the target demographics for the app and analyzed the market demand. The competition for apps is getting stiff, and the niches are getting crowded. There’s simply too much competition for mediocre products. I analyzed a series of high potential promotion venues. Every dollar and minute that I spend into app promotion this year will save thousands in subsequent years. So I decided to go for nothing pure artistic perfection. The magical iPhone experience that people keep reading about but never quite get. I see this experience and now the app has a Vision associated with it. It is no longer an engineering/computer science gimmick. To transform the app, I focused on the user interface and really outlined what I want the app to accomplish. Over the course of writing Business Requirements for work offered to two artists ( A graphics designer and a musician), I clearly understood what the app will be. This is good news for you, as the user, because you will be delighted by a superior quality app! From custom, crisp interface to compelling and powerful audio, the app will re-define what it is to have an iPhone in your hand. It will become more than just a phone. It is a tool that enhances your awareness and helps you transition between waking life and the dream experience with ease!
Oh, and I tested my IQ! It is in the gifted/near genius range. Not quite Einstein, but good enough. I now realize how once the distractions , uncertainties and doubts are removed, along with the work related anxieties, the true intelligence and awareness are allowed to bloom to their fuller potential. I realized that over the past 6 years I’ve been honing my skills in engineering, programming, interpersonal communications, leadership, business just for this moment. In the time when most people could become comfortable at one job, I had to learn skills required to build a company keeping an eye on my dream – building a lucid dreaming device. And now as I look back, I realize that I have the talent, skills and now connections to make this a reality!
Development Diary Day 6:
The alpha smart timer GUI. It gets the job done and even wakes you up when you are least sleepy!
I’ve spent a good amount of time working on the Smart Timer GUI and the overall flow of the smart timer. This feature has caused plenty of confusion among the early adopters, and I took some steps towards making it as easy as possible. To do so, I annotated all elements of the smart timer configuration with an extra option to look up web help for the specific UI element that the user has a question about.
Smart timer is a series of self-adjusting episodes, which try to align closely with REM events throughout the night. The new Dream Detector feature lets the user specify Smart Timer events and let the Dream Detector do the rest. An extra feature that is really useful is the Smart Alarm clock. It triggers a reminder when a large motion event is detected early in the morning. This allows the user to wake up refreshed and literally get out of the bed and go. This is because the body is awakened at the lightest sleep phase. No more snooze fests!
Development Diary Day 5:
I got a lot accomplished, the app is coming along really nicely
. I understand iPhone better than I ever did before, even though there are still some memory issues here and there. I’ve done a lot more work on Dreams Detector, and tonight will be the first night when it will fire after a 4.5 hours delay and start detecting dreams. I also wrote a killer hypnotic induction/affirmation script. It combines dreamsigns, dream incubation and reality checks! I’m afraid it will be so powerful that I’ll have to put more disclaimers saying “recreational and research use only”
Lessons Learned from Android: Just let it calibrate. The easiest calibration ever!
Development Diary Day 4:
The app crashed overnight and I got barely any data. When the app did work however, I got 3 dreams where I had very obvious dream signs. I haven’t had dreams like that in months. In one of the dreams my friend was talking about lucidity and awareness, saying how at any moment you may be dreaming. And I was! There’s still a lot of work to do in the graphics and media field, but even the barebone iPhone UI looks much better than the Android one. I’m focusing exclusively on iPhone 4, using the Interface Builder for the UI. It greatly speeds up development. I simplified the interface and condensed important functionality into about 10 view controllers.
Consider the calibration activity, which caused a lot of frustration for the Android users:
It now has 1 button and a progress bar. All calibration parameters are displayed and are user customizeable, along with a brief description of how this parameter affects the app. A live graph lets the user see the filter in action!
Development Diary Day 3:
The progress has been remarkable. iPhone interface is a lot cleaner than that of Android, allowing for more intuitive user interfaces. I also know which features to avoid, and am trying to apply the 80/20 rule to development.
First night of Data!
I got the first 506 minutes of sleep data collected through iPhone. It is very clean, and has activity count from 2 sensors: accelerometer and gyroscope. I’ve ran the Android app in parallel with iPhone and compared the results. This is why I know that I had recorded 1 dream, and ran the WILD timer twice. This produces a pretty good picture of when I was awake and asleep. My dream recall is coming back, and I remember 3 dream episodes. As for when exactly they occur on the plot - I’m not sure. The body is supposed to be paralyzed during sleep, so the dreams are either happening at short intervals of inactivity, or my body does move in sleep.
- First night of using the iPhone Lucid Dreaming App. Data is annotated
Please feel free to take a look at the full size screenshot, I spent over 2 hours analyzing that!