Sleeping somewhere new
Bitbanger Labs has created what it calls a "lucid dreaming facemask" iStock/4FR

What if you could go to bed every night, think about what you want to dream, fall asleep and have complete control of your dreams? US tech firm Bitbanger Labs has created what it calls a "lucid dreaming facemask" that it claims will give you recognition and allow you to control any aspect of your dreams.

Lucid dreaming refers to the state of consciousness when a person is aware that he or she is dreaming while asleep. However, the term is also used to describe the idea of being able to influence your dreams.

Developers Steve McGuigan and Duncan Frazier have designed Remee, a mask that they say can allow users to take control of their dreams. In 2012, the duo launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $35,000 towards production of the mask. They raised $572,891.

The device uses six LEDs to create a light pattern designed to tell the sleeper when they are dreaming. The lights will wait for a specified initial delay (the default setting is 4.5 hours) when most people reach Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep during which dreams usually occur. The mask then flashes a series of customizable light patterns that you choose and repeat after a specified delay throughout the night (default setting is 10 minutes). The lights, which are not bright enough to wake up the sleeping user, are used to tell the user that a dream is occurring.

The Brooklyn-based developers say the sleep mask offers the user a visual reminder to train oneself to take control of one's dreams. Following the "recurring dream sign", a user can then choose to take control and determine the course of his or her dreams.

"It's a sleep mask designed to allow people to enhance their dreams to have better dream recall, have more vivid dreams," Frazier told CBS New York. "We're kind of pinging your waking mind with these patterns so at the very least you're getting a little more attention to your dreams."

However, some sleep experts are still sceptical of the innovative technology.

"Lucid dreams are an overlapping state between sleep and wakefulness. Dream sleep which you see here is very similar to wakefulness," Dr Daniel Erichsen said. "There's no harm in it, but there's no evidence that it works."

Remee is currently available for sale online for $95 (£66).