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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: dreamach.txt

Dream Machine - Like those helmets they charge 200 bucks for but 10 bucks, causes hallucinations

                           by Bruce Young

     Many of you out there would really like to fully embrace the cyberpunk
lifestyle, but let's be realistic. How many of us can really afford to buy an
up to the minute computer system, with full telecommunications gear to boot,
all the smart drugs to keep our brains at their peaks, and an upscale VR rig
to while away the wee hours?  Let's face it, the future will be fun, global,
but expensive.  But there are ways that you can start to play with your brain
without busting your bank account. Most of these methods involve a little
muscle work and lots of trial and refinement, so don't expect this to  be a
listing of sales on Data-gloves! This is what we call grunt work in the biz.
So roll up your sleeves, don't throw away those old microwaves, and prepare to
move into the future on a budget.

     Some of the most commonly sold objects on the cybermarket these days
are brain stimulation devices.  Through flickering lights and complimentary
sound input, these provoke the brain waves at varying frequencies.  This can
produce deep relaxation or illuminating hallucinations, so they claim. But
this concept has been around since the late '50's.  Mr. Brion Gysin invented
the first 'flickerscope' in London and dubbed it the DreaMachine. Basically,
the DreaMachine puts a 30-40 Hz flicker on your closed eyes, and your brain
responds by acting at the same frequency.  This produces hypnogogic
hallucinations of varying intensity, depending on the brightness of the light,
yur indibidual brain patterns, and the outside surroundings; pretty much like
the $200 dollar models that you strap to your head.  But a DreaMachine can be
created for under $10 in the privacy of your own home! Thers are the materials
you will need:

1:  An old turntable (prferably with pitch control)
2:  A lightbulb that can be hung from above
3:  An 11" x 17" sheet of cardboard

And that's it!

     Basically, you cut vertical slots into the card and wind it into a
circle.  When you cut out the slots, only cut out three sides, and bend it
back across one of the long edges.  This helps prevent the light from the
previous slot from bleeding over and wrecking the flicker effect.  The
card circle is then placed on the turntable with the lightbulb hanging
inside through the open top.  The bulb is then turned on and the deck set
spinning. You then close your eyes, and face the bulb through the slits,
This causes the light from the bulb to flicker at the desired frequency,
determined from the spacing of the slits and the speed of the turntable.

     This formula is fairly simple...

                         Rotation speed(rpm) x Length of sheet(in.)
     Flickerspeed (Hz) = ------------------------------------------
                                 Spacing of slots(in.) x 60

     NOTE: Spacing of slots is the distance between the centers
           of adjacent slots, not the distance between the edges.

     So if your turntable is set at 45 rpm, with an 17" sheet and 1/3 inch
between the centres of the slots, you'll get a flicker speet of 38.25 Hz.
Just about right. Each person reacts a little differently, so you may need
to play around with speeds or slot sizes to get the best results (this is
where a pitch control comes in handy).

     Don't be worried if you don't get much at first. It usually takes
5-10 minutes of exposure before the good effects start, so be patient.
If you still get nothing, try moving closer to the table or use a brighter
light. Also, if there is not enough space between the edges of the slots,
too much light may be seeping through and ruining the flicker effect.  This
can all be solved by running a few different trials and comparing the results.
You're supposed to be bright, play with it!

     A home-built DreaMachine can bring you hours of enjoyment with your
new brain (grin), helping to stimulate new thoughts and thought patterns. Be
sure to tune in next issue when the topic will be the actual effects of sound
on your nervous system. And you thought that new song just had a good beat!!

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