Team

Doug Feigelson

MIT, Computer Science

Doug Feigelson, MIT '14, is currently studying computer science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Winner of the 2012 Boston Facebook hackathon, he enjoys building cool things. His prior work includes substantial iOS development. Doug built the Sigmund iPhone app.

Daniel Nadler

Harvard

Daniel Nadler is a PhD Candidate, researcher, inventor, and financial writer at Harvard University. In 2012 he was featured on CNN's What's Next, a program profiling "forward-looking thinkers in the fields of tech, science and social change…[and] the big ideas and events that will help shape our collective future" for his pioneering work and research in the area of using automated night-time audio broadcasts to influence dream content. As a financial writer, his analysis of currency and equity markets has been frequently published in the financial media, including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. In 2010 he received research funding through Harvard's Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative to study sleep-dependent learning, a field of research that examines how sleep consolidates and optimizes the layout of procedural memories, and how this process plays a critical part in learning new skills, such as playing a musical instrument. His work on Sigmund grows out of this earlier exploration of the neurobiology of sleep-dependent learning.

Yuhki Yamashita

Harvard

Yuhki Yamashita, Harvard ’11, studied computer science at Harvard University, and was the head teaching fellow for Harvard’s largest and most popular computer science course, CS50. He currently works at Microsoft, in Seattle. Prior to starting at Microsoft, Yuhki developed the overall user interface concept behind Sigmund, and executed the primary digital art.

Vision

Influencing dream content using precise spoken words could have significant implications for health and wellbeing. As many as one third of adults report significant nightmares at least once a week. Research has shown that this can cause anxiety even after the sleeper wakes up, and we all know anecdotally that the effect of powerful dreams can linger throughout the day, causing stress and unease if they are negative, and promoting restfulness, calm, productivity, and better mood if they are positive.

Beyond health and wellness, we believe that dreaming is the next frontier of virtual reality. Much has been said by technologists, futurists, and even philosophical commentators about the coming power of power of virtual reality to transform the human experience. We think that if this happens, dreams are a logical starting point. It is quite possible that in 20 years, our own dreams will become truly controllable entertainment. Dreams are the most immersive sensory experiences theoretically possible. Orders of magnitude deeper than best imaginable virtual reality, they bypass the eyes completely, and while in them, we truly take them for reality. Sigmund is merely the prototype—it is the first technology that allows you to select and broadcast actual spoken words during REM sleep. But we think it will be superseded very quickly by even better technologies, like wearable devices.