Tools for dream typing

While trying any kind of sleep-typing, you probably want to use a keyboard like this:

This keyboard is missing every key that lets you delete words you’ve typed or otherwise send commands to the OS or text editor/messaging program you’re typing in (Ubuntu+ion3 and irssi here — your mileage may vary). When you drift off to unconscious sleep, it’s very easy to accidentally delete text, close the program, or other such counterproductive things.

It can be difficult to try to study something that by definition screws around with the thought processes you use to study it (I’m sure scientifically-minded drug-experimenter types would agree). But I have definitely had dreams where I was able to do some sciencey stuff while playing around — examining the simulated world to see how detailed it is (I wonder what rendering engine my brain uses …), testing what I can and can’t do in it, and so forth. Inevitably, since dreams are so hard to remember, I forget about the allure of the whole thing for long stretches of time. But eventually I have another vivid dream and start thinking about the possibility of playing around with a complete, realistic virtual world of my very own, and my inner SimCity player insists that I try it again.

Since dreams are so intangible when one’s awake, I don’t think that there’s any way for them to become a serious enough interest to detract from real life. But they’re a fascinating phenomenon and I’ve had fun when I’ve played around with them.  Also, a few nights ago I had a long dream where I spent a lovely afternoon with Janeane Garofalo. And when the negative results of your experiment are “a lovely afternoon with Janeane Garofalo,” you have a good experimental design on your hands.

134 thoughts on “Tools for dream typing

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  2. I’m not sure why you would alter you keyboard in that way instead of writing a special text editor to record your typing. Essentially all you would need is a key logger, and even after abstaining from programming for 5 years now I feel confident I could write one. Just wait for the key press flag and save the key buffer, sanitize any undesired key, possibly converting it to a message that the key was pressed (ie replacing the hex for backspace with {backspc}). Heck, I think I could write the program faster than modify my keyboard.


  3. Sometimes, you just have to do freaky things to hardware. I’d probably opt for a software approach as well, but I can DEFINITELY understand the appeal of modifying a keyboard just for shits and giggles.


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  6. Another interesting way to do this, for the texters out there (especially those in high school, who text from their pockets): Fall asleep with your phone in your hand. I’ve texted my girlfriend from dreams before this way. Since I texted blindly so often during high school, it was easy enough to do while sleeping.


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