Smartphones have rapidly become an integral part of daily life and many people are extremely addicted to social media websites. As a result, it’s quite common for smartphone users to take their handsets to bed and casually post status updates. According to a paper published in Frontiers in Public Health, this is detrimental to your health and results in sleep deprivation. The research shows that blue light from smartphones delays people’s natural body clock and keeps them awake during later hours.
Professor Paul Gringras, a doctor from Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, said every new model was:
“bluer and brighter.”
He also criticized smartphone manufacturers for not implementing a “sleep mode”. In an interview with the BBC, he argued:
“There is converging data to say if you are in front of one of these devices at night-time it could prevent you falling asleep by an extra hour.”
“It’s not good enough to say do less and accept this is the world we live in, they’re fun devices but we do need some protection on what they do at night-time.”
The bright light shining into people’s eyes is a major distraction. Additionally, instead of the brain slowing down late at night, the barrage of messages, videos and icons on modern smartphones makes this pretty impossible. If you value your sleep it’s imperative to switch your smart-device off, before you go to bed. Manufacturers have to do more as smartphone addiction is a reality.
Can machines dream? New images released by Google have given us a potential answer.
The images range from beautiful to rather bizarre and were created by the image recognition software that Google use. Over time, the system has been “taught” to recognize buildings, animals and much more in the photographs.
In plain speak, the system works by being fed a picture, processing it, then modifying it to emphasise the parts it recognizes. Eventually, the system loops and loops until the image is unrecognizable. At a low level, the neural network might be tasked merely to detect the edges on an image. In that case, the picture becomes painterly, an effect that will be instantly familiar to anyone who has experience playing about with photoshop filters.
But if the neural network is tasked with finding a more complex feature – such as animals – in an image, it ends up generating a much more disturbing hallucination.
The image recognition software used to generate these has already made it into consumer products. Google’s new photo service, Google Photos, features the option to search images with text: entering “dog”, for instance, will pull out every image Google can find which has a dog in it.
So there you have it: Androids don’t just dream of electric sheep; they also dream of mesmerising, multicoloured landscapes.
Thank you to The Guardian for providing us with this information.
It seems the death of paper is causing the death of sleep. As reading habits have shifted from books and magazines to e-readers and tablets, our sleeping patterns have become impacted. Backlighting from the two devices has been demonstrated to disrupt the body’s clock, its circadian rhythm, that controls our sleep schedule.
According to the study by the Mayo Clinic, “Some research suggests that screen time or other media use before bedtime interferes with sleep.”
A dozen volunteers spent a fortnight at a sleep centre, with a strict 10pm bedtime. For one week, half the volunteers were given regular books to be read by dim light, and the rest used backlit e-readers. The roles were switched the following week.
Levels of melatonin, the hormone that controls the body’s day-night cycle, were 50% lower in e-reader volunteers, compared to their book-reading counterparts. The data suggested that the drop in melatonin pushed the subject’s circadian rhythm back by an hour-and-a-half, and resulted in 10 minutes less REM sleep than the book readers.
The study is just the latest in a series that points to backlit tech use before bed hampering healthy sleep.
An app has been released this week on iOS that allows you to wake up strangers or for you to be woken up by them.
Wakie, which was previously released on Android and Windows Phone, made its PR debut this week following its release on the iPhone and iPad. The app is pretty simple really – it’s an alarm clock, but the alarm is replaced by random strangers.
If you choose to be a ‘Sleepyhead’ and get woken up, a stranger from anywhere in the world will initiate a VOIP call to your device to wake you up. That call lasts 1 minute and you then get the chance to communicate via a forum in the app following your call.
If you’re a ‘Wakie’, the process is just the opposite. You get to wake a randomly chosen stranger. Think of it like Tinder for sleep. or waking from sleep rather.
Wake is currently free, but in an interview with TechCrunch, the developers say that they’re working on a special paid-for version that will allow you to extend calls for 5 minutes and choose the gender of those you’re communicating with.
Now here is an interesting and most effective gadget, something that helps you control your dreams. The Aurora, a new Kickstarter project, is a ‘Dream-Enhanced Headband’ that lets you control your dreams by inducing ‘lucid dreams’.
This is a gadget dedicated mostly to people who know they are dreaming, but cannot control their dreams no matter what they do. In fact, everybody had at least one dream in their life in which they knew they were dreaming, but could not wake up or ‘control’ their dream (the most common dreams of this state are known as nightmares). The Aurora aims to help you with just that, by creating lucid dreams that you can recognise as ‘dreams’ and helps you take control of them. It actively monitors your sleep stages throughout the night by sensing your brain waves, and with the help of the accelerometer, it even tracks your body movements.
During your dream, the Aurora will signal you with subtle sounds and lights which ‘find’ their way into your dream, notifying you upon the fact that you are dreaming. And once you recognise and become aware of the fact that you are inside your own dream, you can do everything you want. It is noted to be like you own ‘private universe’. The Aurora also lets you design your personal light and sound queues, and it can even wake you up when you feel well rested from the analysis it gathers during your sleep.
The Aurora Dream-Enhancing Headband could be a unique gadget that can relieve you of stress gathered from day-to-day tasks, or even an alternative way of getting a vacation for the people who have less time to go on holiday due to ‘heavy working hours’. Either way, it is indeed a unique and delightful concept to keep in mind.