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Apple takes small company to court over pear-shaped logo

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apple takes small company to court over pear shaped logo

Tech behemoth Apple, which is worth in excess of $1trillion, is taking a company with five employees to court over it its use of a green pear as a logo.

Apple claims the recipe app’s logo closely resembles its own fruity emblem, and it is trying to prevent the small company from being granted its own trademark. 

Prepear says it is terrifying to be embroiled in a legal battle with one of the world’s biggest, richest and most powerful companies. 

However, Prepear says it feels a ‘moral obligation’ to stand up for itself despite the financial strain the legal battle is putting on the company. 

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Prepear (logo pictured) says it is terrifying to be embroiled in a legal battle with one of the world's biggest, richest and most powerful companies.

Prepear (logo pictured) says it is terrifying to be embroiled in a legal battle with one of the world's biggest, richest and most powerful companies.

Apple (logo pictured) claims the recipe app's logo closely resembles its own fruity emblem and it is trying to prevent the small company from being granted its own trademark

Apple (logo pictured) claims the recipe app's logo closely resembles its own fruity emblem and it is trying to prevent the small company from being granted its own trademark

Apple (right, logo) is taking a recipe and meal prep app called Prepear (left, logo) to court over the company’s logo. Apple is one of the richest companies in the world and Prepear says the costs of the legal battle has forced them to lay off a member of staff 

Apple filed a notice of opposition against the meal prep company, MacRumours and iPhone in Canada first reported. 

Apple’s logo is one of the most easily recognisable in the world and the company has repeatedly defended it from being copied. 

The company claims the presence of the green pear logo could ’cause dilution of the distinctiveness’ of the Apple logo and diminish the company’s identifiability. 

Prepear says the cost of the legal proceedings has so far amounted to ‘many thousands of dollars’. It has already had to lay off a member of staff just to survive the legal onslaught.

The two logos have similarities, they are both fruit and have a leaf. But, there are clear differences as well. 

For example, as the company names would suggest, one is an apple and one is a pear. They are also different colours and the angle of the leaf is different.  

However, Apple deems this to be worthy of a lawsuit and describes Prepear’s logo as ‘a minimalistic fruit design with a right-angled leaf, which readily calls to mind Apple’s famous Apple Logo and creates a similar commercial impression’. 

Court filings reveal Apple believes the similarities of the logos overshadow the differences. 

It also says that due to the Apple logo being ‘so famous and instantly recognizable’ that this ‘[will] cause the ordinary consumer to believe the Applicant is related to, affiliated with or endorsed by Apple’.  

Prepear co-founder Russell Monson started a petition called ‘Save the Pear from Apple!’ to raise support for the small app.   

Apple CEO Tim Cook is a ‘demanding’ boss who ‘leads through interrogation’ 

Despite his friendly, gentle demeanour, Apple’s chief executive officer Tim Cook has been described as a tough leader who has been known to ‘leave his staff in tears’.

A new profile of the billionaire Apple boss describes a man who leads his staff ‘through interrogation’, according to contacts cited by the Wall Street Journal

Cook succeeded Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as CEO in 2011, six weeks before the latter’s death from cancer.

Since that time, Apple’s market value has soared from $348 billion to $1.9 trillion, but the ‘cautious and tactical’ leader has had to be ruthless behind the scenes.

Cook reached billionaire status earlier this month, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

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For Prepear, the logo is a clever play on words and integrates its product into its logo. 

For Apple, it is a company that it claims offers ‘identical and/or highly related goods and services’ and therefore is a threat.

Apple is a company with its fingers in many pies – health care, social networking, mobile phone manufacturer – and it says a meal planning app would be ‘within Apple’s natural zone of expansion for Apple’s Apple Marks’.

In other words, the fact that Apple may one day branch out into recipes and meal planning is enough  justification to challenge Prepear’s use of the logo.   

Prepear co-owner Natalie Monson said on Instagram that she does not want people to stop using Apple products. 

Instead, their public pleas are the result of a sense of duty.

‘I feel a moral obligation to take a stand against Apple’s aggressive legal action against small businesses and fight for the right to keep our logo,’ she said. 

‘We are defending ourselves against Apple not only to keep our logo, but to send a message to big tech companies that bullying small businesses has consequences.’ 

MailOnline has approached Apple for comment.          

Apple CEO Tim Cook was forced to testify before the US Congress last month alongside the chief executives of Amazon, Facebook and Google, as part of an antitrust investigation into major tech companies. 

The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) of Russia also ruled today that Apple had breached antitrust legislation, following a complaint from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

Earlier this year, Apple was fined €25million (£21.2million/$27.4 million) for not telling customers it was deliberately slowing down older iPhones. 

The iPhone manufacture hit headlines in 2017 for not disclosing the impact the move would have to consumers and France’s watchdog has slapped the firm with a fine.

International scandal erupted erupted in December 2017 when Apple admitted its iOS update was slowing the older phones and causing diminishing battery life.

In the 2019 financial year, Apple made a total of $260.17billion (€237.42billion). The €25million fine equates to around 0.01053 per cent of this amount. 

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Reading: Books with busy pictures ‘make it harder for kids to focus and understand the story’

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reading books with busy pictures make it harder for kids to focus and understand the story

Illustrating children’s books with too many detailed, non-essential pictures makes it ‘harder for kids to focus and absorb knowledge’, a study has demonstrated.

Colourful pictures intended to motivate young readers may achieve the exact opposite by drawing attention away from the story text, US researchers warned.

Although reading is considered a ‘gateway for learning’, around 20 per cent of children in the UK do not meet the minimum level of literacy proficiency.

Children’s books typically include eye-catching illustrations to help readers visualise the characters and setting of the story.

However, eye-tracking studies found that too many pictures can prove distracting. 

Illustrating children's books with too many detailed, non-essential pictures makes it 'harder for kids to focus and absorb knowledge', a study has demonstrated. Pictured, a picture book

Illustrating children's books with too many detailed, non-essential pictures makes it 'harder for kids to focus and absorb knowledge', a study has demonstrated. Pictured, a picture book

Illustrating children’s books with too many detailed, non-essential pictures makes it ‘harder for kids to focus and absorb knowledge’, a study has demonstrated. Pictured, a picture book

Colourful pictures intended to motivate young readers may achieved the exact opposite by drawing attention away from the story text, US researchers warned. Pictured, an example of a children's reading book, with text highlighted in blue, essential images in green and distracting, non-essential illustrations highlighted in red

Colourful pictures intended to motivate young readers may achieved the exact opposite by drawing attention away from the story text, US researchers warned. Pictured, an example of a children's reading book, with text highlighted in blue, essential images in green and distracting, non-essential illustrations highlighted in red

Colourful pictures intended to motivate young readers may achieved the exact opposite by drawing attention away from the story text, US researchers warned. Pictured, an example of a children’s reading book, with text highlighted in blue, essential images in green and distracting, non-essential illustrations highlighted in red

‘Learning to read is hard work for many kids,’ said paper author and psychologist Anna Fisher of the Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

‘Extraneous images may draw the reader’s eyes away from the text and disrupt the focus necessary to understand the story.’

In their study, Dr Fisher and colleagues gave a group of adults a book designed for children’s reading practice and asked them to identify which pictures within were entertaining but not essential to understand the story.

These extraneous pictures were then removed from the second half of the book before the work was given to 60 US first- and second-grade students — that is, those aged between 6 and 8 — to read.

A portable eye-tracker was used to monitor the number of times each student shifted their gaze away from the text to images across the page.

The team found that children shifted their gaze less when reading the streamlined half of the book — and achieved higher comprehension scores.

‘During these primary school years, children are in a transition period in which they are increasingly expected to read independently,’ said paper author and psychologist Cassondra Eng, also of the Carnegie Mellon University.

This has become even more so amid COVID-19, she added, which has forced children to learn with less in-person guidance from teachers.

The findings of the study, she said, will allow us to ‘design materials grounded in learning theories that can be most helpful to children and enrich their experiences with technology.’

Those children who were the most likely to look away from the text while reading were also the most likely to benefit from the streamlined version, the team found.

Dr Fisher and colleagues have suggested that authors, illustrators and publishers consider removing distracting and unnecessary pictures from educational materials for first-time-readers. 

In their study, Dr Fisher and colleagues gave a group of adults a book designed for children's reading practice (pictured, top) and asked them to identify which pictures within were entertaining but not essential to understand the story. These extraneous pictures were then removed from the second half of the book (bottom) before the work was given to 60 US first- and second-grade students — that is, those aged between 6 and 8 — to read

In their study, Dr Fisher and colleagues gave a group of adults a book designed for children's reading practice (pictured, top) and asked them to identify which pictures within were entertaining but not essential to understand the story. These extraneous pictures were then removed from the second half of the book (bottom) before the work was given to 60 US first- and second-grade students — that is, those aged between 6 and 8 — to read

In their study, Dr Fisher and colleagues gave a group of adults a book designed for children’s reading practice (pictured, top) and asked them to identify which pictures within were entertaining but not essential to understand the story. These extraneous pictures were then removed from the second half of the book (bottom) before the work was given to 60 US first- and second-grade students — that is, those aged between 6 and 8 — to read

‘This is not a silver bullet and will not solve all challenges in learning to read,’ Dr Fisher cautioned.

‘But if we can take steps to make practicing reading a little bit easier and reduce some of the barriers, we can help children engage with the printed material and derive enjoyment from this activity.’

The researchers cautioned, however, that the study was limited by its evaluation of children’s reading patterns based on only a single book.

The full findings of the study were published in the journal npj Science of Learning.

WHY ARE GIRLS BETTER THAN BOYS AT READING AND WRITING? 

Research shows that girls typically score better than boys in standardised literacy tests.

The trend is seen as early as age 10 and continues until the age of 18.

Previous research has shown women and men use their brains differently.

Girls use both brain hemispheres for reading and writing, while boys typically rely on just one.

Boys are also exhibit more disruptive behaviours than girls in the classroom.

They are more likely to be inattentive and interrupt teachers.

Scientists also suggest that reading and language are seen as feminine skills, even from a young age.

This means boys are less likely than girls to push to improve these skills.

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One of the ‘most extreme planets in the universe’ orbits its star every 2.7 days

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one of the most extreme planets in the universe orbits its star every 2 7 days

A ‘hot Jupiter’ exoplanet with a surface temperature hot enough to vaporise iron has been dubbed ‘one of the most extreme planets in the universe’ by astronomers.

Using data from the European Space Agency CHEOPS space telescope, astronomers from the University of Bern studied the orbit, size and temperature of WASP-189b.

The planet, 322 light years from Earth, was first discovered orbiting its bright host star HD 133112 by the Wide Angle Search for Planets (WASP) project in 2018.

CHEOPS was launched by ESA eight months ago to characterise known exoplanets and WASP-189b is the first planet examined by the orbiting spaceship.  

The gas giant planet is one and a half times the size of Jupiter and has a surface temperature of 5,792 degrees Fahrenheit – it takes just three days to orbit its star.    

This is an artist impression of WASP-189b orbiting its extremely hot 'blue' host star. The planet orbits the star every three days and has a permanent day and night side

This is an artist impression of WASP-189b orbiting its extremely hot 'blue' host star. The planet orbits the star every three days and has a permanent day and night side

This is an artist impression of WASP-189b orbiting its extremely hot ‘blue’ host star. The planet orbits the star every three days and has a permanent day and night side

This is an earlier artist impression of HD133112 and WASP-189b shared by NASA before the full extent of its ultra-hot surface were known

This is an earlier artist impression of HD133112 and WASP-189b shared by NASA before the full extent of its ultra-hot surface were known

This is an earlier artist impression of HD133112 and WASP-189b shared by NASA before the full extent of its ultra-hot surface were known

The star, named HD 133112, is the hottest star known to have a planetary system, according to the Swiss astronomers behind the CHEOPS discovery.  

Monika Lendl, lead author of the study from the University of Geneva said WASP-189b was particularly interesting as it is a close orbiting gas giant. 

It orbits its star 20 times closer than the Earth orbits the Sun and is ‘very exotic’ as it has a permanent day side always exposed to the light of its ‘very bright’ host star. 

Its climate is completely different from that of the gas giants Jupiter and Saturn in our solar system which have different sides facing the Sun as they rotate.

‘Based on the observations using CHEOPS, we estimate the temperature of WASP-189b to be 3,200 degrees Celsius [5792 F]. 

In comparison, Jupiter has an average temperature of -234 degrees Fahrenheit. 

‘Planets like WASP-189b are called ‘ultra-hot Jupiters’. Iron melts at such a high temperature, and even becomes gaseous. This object is one of the most extreme planets we know so far,’ says Lendl.

The planet itself is too close to the host star for any direct detection methods – so other techniques were needed to study it in more detail, the team explained.  

As the planet is so close to its host star the dayside is so bright the team were able to measure the ‘missing light’ as it passes behind the star – called an occultation.

‘We observed several such occultations of WASP-189b with CHEOPS,’ Lendl says. 

‘It appears that the planet does not reflect a lot of starlight. Instead, most of the starlight gets absorbed by the planet, heating it up and making it shine.’ 

The researchers believe that the planet is not very reflective because there are no clouds present on its dayside.

The system featuring WASP-189b is 'very exotic' according to astronomers. The star is very hot - 3,600 F hotter than the Sun - and the planet orbits the star every three days

The system featuring WASP-189b is 'very exotic' according to astronomers. The star is very hot - 3,600 F hotter than the Sun - and the planet orbits the star every three days

The system featuring WASP-189b is ‘very exotic’ according to astronomers. The star is very hot – 3,600 F hotter than the Sun – and the planet orbits the star every three days

‘This is not surprising, as theoretical models tell us that clouds cannot form at such high temperatures,’ said Willy Benz, study co-author from the University of Bern.

‘We also found that the transit of the gas giant in front of its star is asymmetrical. This happens when the star possesses brighter and darker zones on its surface.’

CHEOPS: A MISSION TO CHARACTERISE KNOWN EXOPLANETS

CHEOPS is the shortened name for ESA’s CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite mission.

It is the first mission dedicated to studying bright, nearby stars that are already known to host exoplanets.

It will make high-precision observations of the planet’s size as it passes in front of its host star.

It will focus on planets in the super-Earth to Neptune size range, with its data enabling the bulk density of the planets to be derived. 

Cheops is the first small, or S-class, mission in ESA’s science programme.

 It is a partnership between ESA and Switzerland, with a dedicated Consortium led by the University of Bern, and with important contributions from 10 other ESA Member States.

The first planet studied by CHEOPS was WASP-189b – an ultra hot Jupiter planet orbiting its star every three days.

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‘Thanks to CHEOPS data, we can conclude that the star itself rotates so quickly that its shape is no longer spherical; but ellipsoidal. The star is being pulled outwards at its equator.’ continues Benz.

The star around which WASP-189b orbits is very different from our Sun – it is considerably larger and more than 3,600 degrees Fahrenheit hotter.  

Because it is so hot, the star appears blue and not yellow-white like the sun. 

Willy Benz said: ‘Only a handful of planets are known to orbit such hot stars, and this system is the brightest by far.’ 

‘The star itself is interesting – it’s not perfectly round, but larger and cooler at its equator than at the poles, making the poles of the star appear brighter,’ says Lendl. 

‘It’s spinning around so fast that it’s being pulled outwards at its equator! Adding to this asymmetry is the fact that WASP-189 b’s orbit is inclined; it doesn’t travel around the equator, but passes close to the star’s poles.’ 

This tilted orbit adds to the existing mystery of how hot Jupiters form – for a planet to have such an inclined orbit it must have formed further out and been pushed inwards towards the star, the astronomers explained. 

This is thought to happen as multiple planets within a system jostle for position, or as an external influence – another star, for instance – disturbs the system, pushing gas giants towards their star and onto very short orbits that are highly tilted. 

‘As we measured such a tilt with CHEOPS, this suggests that WASP-189 b has undergone such interactions in the past,’ adds Lendl. 

As a consequence, it forms a benchmark for further studies, the team explained – saying they expect further spectacular findings on exoplanets from CHEOPS.  

The CHEOPS mission was launched in 2019 as a 'follow up tool' to study known exoplanets in more detail and characterise their orbits and temperature

The CHEOPS mission was launched in 2019 as a 'follow up tool' to study known exoplanets in more detail and characterise their orbits and temperature

The CHEOPS mission was launched in 2019 as a ‘follow up tool’ to study known exoplanets in more detail and characterise their orbits and temperature

CHEOPS uses two methods to study exoplanets: Transit - detection of the dimming of a star as a planet passes in front of it, and occultation - when a planet passes behind a star and light reflected by the planet is obscured

CHEOPS uses two methods to study exoplanets: Transit - detection of the dimming of a star as a planet passes in front of it, and occultation - when a planet passes behind a star and light reflected by the planet is obscured

CHEOPS uses two methods to study exoplanets: Transit – detection of the dimming of a star as a planet passes in front of it, and occultation – when a planet passes behind a star and light reflected by the planet is obscured

‘This first result from Cheops is hugely exciting: it is early definitive evidence that the mission is living up to its promise in terms of precision and performance,’ says Kate Isaak, Cheops project scientist at ESA.

Thousands of exoplanets have been discovered since 1995 and many more are expected to be found in the coming years – from space and ground-based missions. 

‘Cheops has a unique ‘follow-up’ role to play in studying such exoplanets,’ explained Isaak, adding it will search for transits of planets that have been discovered on the ground and more precisely measure their sizes. 

‘By tracking exoplanets on their orbits with Cheops, we can make a first-step characterisation of their atmospheres and determine the presence and properties of any clouds present,’ Isaak added.

The research has been published in the journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Scientists study the atmosphere of distant exoplanets using enormous space satellites like Hubble

Distant stars and their orbiting planets often have conditions unlike anything we see in our atmosphere. 

To understand these new world’s, and what they are made of, scientists need to be able to detect what their atmospheres consist of.  

They often do this by using a telescope similar to Nasa’s Hubble Telescope.

These enormous satellites scan the sky and lock on to exoplanets that Nasa think may be of interest. 

Here, the sensors on board perform different forms of analysis. 

One of the most important and useful is called absorption spectroscopy. 

This form of analysis measures the light that is coming out of a planet’s atmosphere. 

Every gas absorbs a slightly different wavelength of light, and when this happens a black line appears on a complete spectrum. 

These lines correspond to a very specific molecule, which indicates it’s presence on the planet. 

They are often called Fraunhofer lines after the German astronomer and physicist that first discovered them in 1814.

By combining all the different wavelengths of lights, scientists can determine all the chemicals that make up the atmosphere of a planet. 

The key is that what is missing, provides the clues to find out what is present.  

It is vitally important that this is done by space telescopes, as the atmosphere of Earth would then interfere. 

Absorption from chemicals in our atmosphere would skew the sample, which is why it is important to study the light before it has had chance to reach Earth. 

This is often used to look for helium, sodium and even oxygen in alien atmospheres.  

This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of key compounds such as sodium or helium 

This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of key compounds such as sodium or helium 

This diagram shows how light passing from a star and through the atmosphere of an exoplanet produces Fraunhofer lines indicating the presence of key compounds such as sodium or helium 

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Scientists find a way to plant ideas in people’s dreams 

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scientists find a way to plant ideas in peoples dreams

Scientists in the US have found a way to plant ideas in people’s heads as they sleep to make them have bizarre, abstract dreams. 

Using so-called targeted dream incubation (TDI), experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have been able to guide people’s dreams toward particular themes by repeating information during the earliest stage of sleep.

This stage is known as hypnagogia, and is generally associated with dreams about psychedelic phenomena.

The technique uses a basic set-up consisting of a wrist-worn electronic sleep-tracking device called Dormio, which tracks when the wearer is asleep, and an app, which delivers audio prompts.   

In trials, the scientists were able to influence the dreams of most study participants to dream about a tree during hypnagogia.

Researchers also used the ‘Dormio’ system to induce a dream about the chocolate fountain from the classic 1971 film ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’. 

The Dormio technology, which is worn on the hand, works together with an app to manipulate the contents of the wearer's dreams

The Dormio technology, which is worn on the hand, works together with an app to manipulate the contents of the wearer's dreams

The Dormio technology, which is worn on the hand, works together with an app to manipulate the contents of the wearer’s dreams

Hypnagogia is similar to the deepest sleep stage, known as REM, in terms of brainwaves and experience.

However, unlike REM, individuals can still hear audio during hypnagogia while they dream, which can influence the content of dreams.

That’s why the sound of music playing or people talking can often play a part in our dreams during the lightest sleep stages.

‘This state of mind is trippy, loose, flexible, and divergent,’ said co-author Haar Horowitz at MIT Media Lab. 

‘It’s like turning the notch up high on mind-wandering and making it immersive –being pushed and pulled with new sensations like your body floating and falling, with your thoughts quickly snapping in and out of control.’ 

The system in use. Upon awakening from hypnagogia, the earliest stage of sleep, participants were asked to submit dream records

The system in use. Upon awakening from hypnagogia, the earliest stage of sleep, participants were asked to submit dream records

The system in use. Upon awakening from hypnagogia, the earliest stage of sleep, participants were asked to submit dream records

MIT designed and developed their sleep-tracking device that can alter dreams by tracking hypnagogia. 

The user decides what they want to dream about, from creative problems they are working on to an experience they want to reflect on or an emotional issue they want to address. 

They then record themselves speaking an audio prompt using the app, which gets replayed during multiple stages of consciousness including wake, sleep onset and sleep. 

These audio prompts can consist of anything the user decides they want to dream about, but in the case of MIT’s experiments, they consisted of sentences including ’remember to think of a tree’ and ‘remember to observe your thoughts’.

The hand-worn sleep tracker then monitors the wearer’s heart rate and electrodermal activity – changes in the resistance of the skin to a small electrical current based on sweat gland activity. 

These changes helped researchers detect when the wearer entered hypnagogia and was liable to incorporate ‘information into dream content’. 

At this point, the audio prompts were delivered to the sleeper at precise times in the sleep cycle, ascertained by the incoming physiological data.  

Upon lying down, the web app instructed these participants to ‘think of a tree’.

Once entry into hypnagogia was determined by the app, a timer was triggered, which woke participants up at various times between one and five minutes, to allow participants ‘to experience different depths of sleep’. 

At the end of this time, participants were woken up with the words ‘you’re falling asleep’ and were asked to report what was going through their mind, with verbal responses recorded. 

The app then instructed them to ‘remember to think of a tree’ and that they could go back to sleep.

‘This loop of events was repeated for 45 min, enabling the collection of multiple hypnagogic reports’, the experts say, at which point participants were fully awoken.  

‘Dream reports’, which were then collected via audio and transcribed into typed text, revealed some far-fetched tree-related dream settings. 

Overall, 67 per cent of dream reports from sleeping participants mentioned dreams involving a tree. 

An audio prompt of Oompa Loompas singing their signature song was enough to trigger dreams of the chocolate factory

An audio prompt of Oompa Loompas singing their signature song was enough to trigger dreams of the chocolate factory

An audio prompt of Oompa Loompas singing their signature song was enough to trigger dreams of the chocolate factory

One subject said of their dream: ‘I was following the roots with someone and the roots were transporting me to different locations. At each location I was trying to find a switch.

‘I could hear the roots of the tree pulsating with energy as if they were leading me to some location.’    

‘Dream reports increased in bizarreness and immersion with each awakening’, according to the experts at MIT. 

The dream of the earliest awakening simply consisted of ‘trees, many different kinds, pines, oaks’.

Whereas on participant who dreamed longer reported: ‘I’m in the desert, there is a shaman, sitting under the tree with me, he tells me to go to South America…’

Tomás Vega at MIT Media Lab tested the system by prompting himself to dream about one of his favourite films – ‘Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’. 

His audio prompt consisted of the chocolate factory’s workers, the Oompa Loompas, singing their signature song.  

‘I started dreaming about being in a chocolate waterfall, surrounded by Oompa Loompas singing ‘Oompa Loompa, doopity doo,’ Vega told Live Science

But the chocolate waterfall in his dream was dark chocolate, which suited the lactose intolerant computer scientist. 

‘So, is my lactose-intolerance knowledge in my consciousness or in my subconscious?’ he said. 

‘I induced this dream content, but there were still some constraints, like, you cannot just dream about milk chocolate because that’s going to harm you.’     

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening by Salvidor Dali, who often drew on themes of dreaming

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening by Salvidor Dali, who often drew on themes of dreaming

Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening by Salvidor Dali, who often drew on themes of dreaming 

Upon awakening, a person’s guided dream content could be used to complete tasks such as creative story writing.

‘Most sleep and dream studies have so far been limited to university sleep labs and have been very expensive, as well as cumbersome, for both researchers and participants,’ said study author Pattie Maes at MIT Media Lab. 

‘Our research group is excited to be pioneering new, compact and cheap technologies for studying sleep and interfacing with dreams, thereby opening up opportunities for more studies to happen and for these experiments to take place in natural settings.’

Historical figures like writer Mary Shelley and artist Salvador Dalí were inspired creatively by their dreams. 

For example, Dalí’s 1944 surrealist masterpiece ‘Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening’ depicts a dream of his wife Gala in the moments before awakening.  

Dali also created a memorable dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1945 thriller Spellbound. 

But MIT’s technology could also have more serious uses, such as helping people confront sources of stress and trauma.  

‘Apart from benefiting scientists, this work has the potential to lead to new commercial technologies that go beyond sleep tracking to issue interventions that affect sleep onset, sleep quality, sleep-based memory consolidation, and learning,’ said Maes. 

The research has been detailed in the journal Consciousness and Cognition

THE FOUR STAGES OF SLEEP 

Sleep is generally separated in four stages. The first three of these are known as ‘non rapid eye movement’ or NREM sleep.

The last stage is known as rapid eye movement or REM sleep. 

A typical night’s sleep goes back and forth between the stages. 

Stage 1: In the first five minutes or so after dropping off we are not deeply asleep. 

We are still aware of our surroundings but our muscles start to relax, the heart beat slows down and brainwave patterns, known as theta waves, become irregular but rapid.  

Although we are asleep during Stage 1, we may wake up from it feeling like we didn’t sleep at all.  

After around five minutes our bodies move into stage two.

Stage 2: This is when we have drifted into sleep, and if awakened would know you we been asleep. Waking up is still fairly easy.

This stage is identified by short bursts of electrical activity in the brain known as spindles, and larger waves known as K-complexes, which indicate that the brain is still aware of what is going on around it before turning off to a sub-conscious level.  

Heartbeat and breathing is slow, and muscles relax even further. 

Our body temperature drops and eye movements stop. 

Brain wave activity slows but is marked by brief bursts of electrical activity. 

Stage 3: Stage 3 non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that we need to feel refreshed in the morning. 

It occurs in longer periods during the first half of the night. 

Our heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels during sleep and brain waves become even slower.

Our muscles are relaxed and it people may find it difficult to awaken us. 

The body repairs muscles and tissues, stimulates growth and development, boosts immune function, and builds up energy for the next day. 

Hypnagogia – the transitional state between wakefulness and sleep – is associated with NREM stages one to three.

Mental phenomena during hypnagogia include lucid thought, lucid dreaming, hallucinations and sleep paralysis. 

REM sleep:  REM sleep first occurs about 90 minutes after falling asleep. 

Our eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids. 

Mixed frequency brain wave activity becomes closer to that seen in wakefulness. 

Our breathing becomes faster and irregular, and heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels. 

Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, although some can also occur in non-REM sleep. 

Arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralysed, which prevents us from acting out our dreams. 

As we age, we sleep less of your time in REM sleep. 

Memory consolidation most likely requires both non-REM and REM sleep.  

Source: US National Institutes of Health 

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