Archive for February, 2010

Timelapse Sleep Videos

I’m finding it really difficult to find any kind of digital art related to sleeping other than imagery. Its cool in one way because it could be a kind of original idea but at the same time its tough to get inspiration.

One idea that I’ve been having is to record myself when I’m asleep, make a time-lapse of it and then see if I can make some kind of digital artwork from the body movements over the course of the night.

Below is a few links to some time-lapse sleeping videos, I was a bit surprised by how much some people move around over the course of the night which is good because it could lead to some interesting artwork.

Sleep Time Lapse

Couple Sleeping Time Lapse

Child Sleeping Time Lapse


Stages Of Sleep

Stages Of Sleep

Usually sleepers pass through five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1.

A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep but later in the night, REM periods lengthen and deep sleep time decreases.

Stage 1: Is light sleep where you drift in and out of sleep and can be awakened easily. In this stage, the eyes move slowly and muscle activity slows. During this stage, many people experience sudden muscle contractions preceded by a sensation of falling.

Stage 2: Eye movement stops and brain waves become slower with only an occasional burst of rapid brain waves.

Stage 3: Extremely slow brain waves called delta waves are interspersed with smaller, faster waves.

Stage 4: The brain produces delta waves almost exclusively. Stages 3 and 4 are referred to as deep sleep, and it is very difficult to wake someone from them. In deep sleep, there is no eye movement or muscle activity. This is when some children experience bedwetting, sleepwalking or night terrors.

REM Period: Breathing becomes more rapid, irregular and shallow, eyes jerk rapidly and limb muscles are temporarily paralyzed. Brain waves during this stage increase to levels experienced when a person is awake. Also, heart rate increases, blood pressure rises, males develop erections and the body loses some of the ability to regulate its temperature. This is the time when most dreams occur, and, if awoken during REM sleep, a person can remember the dreams. Most people experience three to five intervals of REM sleep each night.

Sleep Movement

Sleep Movement

The reasons for sleep movement include physical comfort / safety (lying in the same position for very long periods of time can cause horrible pressure sores) and the other reason is because we are moving in a dream (like when dogs or cats “run” in their sleep)

We also move in our sleep to keep oxygen and blood moving through our bodies and there are some people who do not naturally turn or roll over in their sleep so they have to train themselves to so that they do not suffocate- this is rare though and very few people don’t naturally move while they sleep.

Parosomnia (PLM & RLS)

Parosomnia (PLM & RLS)

Sleep talking and other parasomnias, or disorders that disrupt sleep, such as periodic limb movement (PLM) and restless leg syndrome (RLS), are pretty common. PLM is defined as periodic movements or jerking of one’s legs or arms for at least two seconds and can occur anywhere from five times per hour to every 20 to 40 seconds. RLS describes an irrepressible compulsion to move one’s legs as a reflex to an uncontrollable and disagreeable sensation. While common, the exact causes of these sleep interruptions are unknown. Luckily, health care providers treat sleep talking, restless leg syndrome, and other movements people make during sleep.

For sleep talkers, underlying psychological and physical factors, such as stress, lack of sleep, not eating enough, or heavy meals just before bedtime, may be the cause.

To manage leg kicking and jerking of one’s body suddenly during sleep, see a health care provider, who will most likely ask for a medical history. Lab tests may be ordered to check for vitamin or mineral deficiencies that could trigger sudden movements during sleep. Finally, to complete this comprehensive assessment, the medical provider may suggest that you spend a night in a sleep lab, so that staff can chart and analyze body movements, air intake, brain and heart activity, and other bodily functions through a polysomnography.

This tool tracks many physiological activities simultaneously. Using this information, the provider can determine if there are any other reasons that may be contributing to the PLM and/or RLS. Examples of such disorders include sleep apnea, anemia, narcolepsy, and mineral deficiencies, such as potassium.

Hypnagogic Myoclonic Twitch

Hypnagogic Myoclonic Twitch

Do you ever wake up suddenly to a falling sensation and a strong muscle twitch just after you have fallen asleep?

This strange falling sensation and muscle twitch is known as a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch or Hypnic jerk If this has happened to you on more than one occasion, don’t worry, you are not alone. Close to 70 percent of all people experience this phenomenon just after nodding off, according to a recent study at the Mayo Clinic.

Most experts agree that this is a natural part of the sleeping process, much like slower breathing and a reduced heartbeat. The occurance is well known and has been well documented. However, experts are still not completely sure why the body does this.

The general consensus among researchers is that, as your muscles begin to slack and go into a restful state just as you are falling asleep; your brain senses these relaxation signals and misinterprets them, thinking you are falling down. The brain then sends signals to the muscles in your arms and legs in an attempt to jerk you back upright. This misinterpretation that takes place in your brain may also be responsible for the falling dreams that accompany the falling sensation. These dreams are not really normal dreams, as they are not produced from R.E.M sleep, but rather more like a daydream or hallucination in response to the bodys sensations.

While this phenomenon happens to most everyone, studies have recently begun to link occurrences of Hypnic jerks to sleep anxiety, fatigue, and discomfort. People who are having trouble sleeping or can’t get comfortable in bed appear to experience the sensation more often throughout the night. It is especially more common with people who are trying to fight falling asleep or have deprived themselves of sleep for more than 24 hours.

Researchers believe that the lack of sleep from sleep anxiety or sleep deprivation confuses the muscles and the brain. The muscles continually attempt to relax and shut down for rest, while your brain remains awake creating continued misinterpretations of falling or loss of balance.

Scientists and researchers continue to study sleep twitching and jerking in a small capacity, but state that the sensation is completely normal for our bodies and is of little medical significance. Our bodies go through several procedures of shutting down and preparing for an extended period of rest. Hypnic jerking is just one of them. It doesn’t appear to cause damage to body and poses no danger to our physical well being.


Sleep, its stages and sleep movement is an area I’ve always had a keen interest in and I’ve begun to explore some different ways that various aspects of a persons sleeping patterns could be translated to some kind of digital artwork. Im not too sure where I’m really going with this yet but Im gonna put up some information on sleep patterns, brain signals and things like that to see if it can help trigger some ideas for my project.

Processing, Arduino, Twitter, RFID Project

So far the last week me and Niamh had been working on building a little tool that can check for a variable number of Twitter entries, for a certain topic, depending on what RFID tag you scan on front of the scanner.

We experimented with displaying the entries on screen in a number of different ways, how many entries to return, font size, font colour, alpha & positioning and things like that.

After a lot of tweaking and missing around the tool now displays the latest 100 twitter entries on Chuck Norris, Patrick Stewart, Steven Seagal, Nick Nolte or The Epic Beard Man depending on which one of five RFID tags we scan.

Its kinda just an out-there experiment at the moment but I can see how it could have practical uses, such as scanning a products bar-code to see what people are saying about it online and things like that.

Augmented Reality Toys

For his final project of Interaction Design Master degree, Frantz Lasorne created a toy prototype, asking the question how we might play if wearing a head mounted AR viewer device. His website goes into quite a bit of detail and it seems like a really interesting area.

Augmented Reality Toys

The Pool

The Pool is an environment of giant, concentric circles created from interactive, wireless circular pads. By entering the pool, you enter a world where play and collaborative movement can create a cascading effect of swirling light and color .

Each pad in The Pool is its own wireless controller. All of the 120 pads communicate and listen to each other in an organic network formed in the same way people interact. The Pool has no single master computer and does not use a router to route or control connections. Each pad is independent, and simultaneously interacts and listens to its environment based on user feedback. Together, the 120 pads create complex, surprising, and unpredictable color arrays with their user participants.

By adding and subtracting light, individuals and groups of people will be able to interact with The Pool in profound ways. The interaction will vary dramatically depending on the number of individuals involved. This dynamic interaction between individuals and The Pool will create environments ranging from curious and playful with few participants to energetic and competitive with many participants.

Like a giant game of light “ping pong,” the pool will have users running and jumping, adding, bouncing, and colliding their lights.

The Pool Overview


levelHead is a spatial memory game by Julian Oliver.

levelHead uses a hand-held solid-plastic cube as its only interface. On-screen it appears each face of the cube contains a little room, each of which are logically connected by doors.

In one of these rooms is a character. By tilting the cube the player directs this character from room to room in an effort to find the exit.

Some doors lead nowhere and will send the character back to the room they started in, a trick designed to challenge the player’s spatial memory. Which doors belong to which rooms?

There are three cubes (levels) in total, each of which are connected by a single door. Players have the goal of moving the character from room to room, cube to cube in an attempt to find the final exit door of all three cubes. If this door is found the character will appear to leave the cube, walk across the table surface and vanish.. The game then begins again.

levelHead Site

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