I decided to revisit an old project of mine from last year after being inspired by the NPT Lucid Dreamer which is currently running on Kickstarter.
Basically to recap from my previous post, the crowdfund device relies on nocturnal penile tumescence during REM sleep periods for an erection to push apart a set of magnetic contacts, activate a switch and hopefully make you aware that you are dreaming, via means of an audio file played back for you to hear whilst still asleep and not wake you up.
I decided my idea instead would be to target post-WBTB (Wake Back to Bed) where the REM periods are longer and more frequent rather than at the start of the night.
Sleeping and/or resting positions when trying to ‘wear’ the device would however be limited to mainly the supine or possibly lying on the side only. This coupled with the awkwardness of the prototype device make things a bit impracticable to say the least.
The main parts include a drainpipe collar fixing, a mini vibrator like the types used on mobile telephones, and a lever switch wired for push-to-make operation in order to supply DC power to the vibrator motor from a 3 volt 300 mA games adapter.
The idea during a period of vasodialation is that any girth increase in the middle would press against the lever and activate the switch causing the motor to vibrate and stay on. However increases in length would cause possible chafing and pinching of the skin against the sharpness of the metal lever itself. Hence a piece of plastic and rubber is used to cushion the lever part and help the operation overall.
A sheath made of light cotton material is worn for hygiene purposes and to help protect the skin further from pinching due to said changes between non-arousal and arousal rather than going commando.
During a simulated test of the prototype I noticed one of the fine wires supplying the motor eventually come apart even with heat shrink insulation round the joint. Initially I thought it was due to bad soldering but after I noticed the wires vibrating during operation even after the repair, so some form of damping or wire fixing would be needed in future to avoid a repeat.
The plastic lever part also had to be ‘calibrated’ by moving it on the main metal lever to find the optimum switching or trigger point. The rubber helped keep all the lever arrangement in place so it acted like a leaf switch when pressed upon.
The main problem is that the device once activated stayed ‘on’ due to the simple design. The erection would need to quickly subside to a certain degree in order to deactivate the switch and thus the motor, otherwise risk easily startling you awake almost immediately.
A better idea in future would be to use the switch to momentarily power the motor up to give a brief burst of vibration. This would require extra parts or an Arduino board wired externally as a controller.
The latter could be used to trigger any device to play a short audio track, flash a sequence of LED lights or operate a relay for example.
Previously I did also experiment by making some conductive rubber by adding graphite from a pencil to the surfaces of elastic band strips. The readings which were in the order of several megohms varied when stretched making a crude potentiometer.
In hindsight maybe I should have added a current-limiting resistor to drop the speed a little, not that the motor is really complaining.
In the meanwhile I also intend to try the vibrator and switching arrangement via a low voltage battery wired in situ.