I saw the creator of this Kickstarter project pitch his app idea at TechCrunch’s Berlin meet-up earlier this year. Hunter Lee Soik’s plan to build Shadow, an app for people to record their nightly dreams, sounded impressive at the time — especially his vision for ultimately being able to explore in real time what people in different regions of the world are dreaming about.
Now the idea looks to be impressing Kickstarter’s crowdfunding community, with close to $20,000 raised out of a $50,000 goal in just a couple of days into a lengthy funding campaign. That’s even more impressive when you consider software isn’t always the easiest sell on crowdfunding platforms, especially compared to the lure of hardware gadgetry.
The Shadow app will incorporate an escalating alarm clock designed to wake sleepers gradually, to improve the ability to recall their dreams. Once awake, it will then prompt them to record their dream story — either by typing it, speaking it (and having their words transcribed to text by the app so Shadow can identify keywords for its dream database), or if the user is still having trouble recalling what they dreamt about, by answering a series of questions to help jog their memory.
As well as helping you recall and store your dream data, so you can browse back through it and compare your dream content to the dreams of other demographics and nationalities — the app will also let users keep track of how long they’ve been sleeping. And perhaps also help tie dream content to other types of quantified self activity — by, for instance, furnishing you with enough data to connect dream content to data from an activity or mood tracker to try to contextualise your subconscious.
The ultimate big data vision for Shadow — assuming it can get its app to market and also build a large enough community of dream recorders — is to create a real-time database that it can use to interrogate our collective global subconscious:
We want to build SHADOW to bridge the gap. What do we dream about during a thunderstorm? After an election? Before a disaster? Do celebrities really dream differently than the rest of us? We think these questions hold amazing truths about how interconnected we really are. And that’s why we’re asking for your help to build SHADOW.
There are various pledge levels being offered on Shadow’s Kickstarter campaign, with different extras in addition to getting the app — including early app access (in December 2013) for backers who stump up the most cash. Backers are also being asked to choose which version they want: Android, iOS or Windows Phone. The mobile platform that gets the most backing will get the app first, but Shadow says it’s aiming to build for all three. iOS appears to be leading the pack so far, followed by Android — with Windows Phone languishing in a distance third place.