Internet

Real-time sleep data powers new website about dreamers

Live data from snoozers equipped with sleep sensors triggers an innovative new website meant to highlight the power of dreams to spur social change.

Clicking on one of these floating 3D shapes leads to a story of a Reach for Change project. Reach for Change

It could easily be said of the Internet, especially when referring to its early days, that it's powered by dreamers. A new website called The Never Ending Stories can now literally make that claim. It's being fueled by snoozers around the world.

Five participating sleepers are equipped with Beddit sensors , which monitor movement and vitals during slumber, sending data wirelessly via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android device. In this case, the data interacts with The Never Ending Story website's API to light up floating 3D objects when a volunteer sleeps.

It's all a bit abstract, but like other recent examples of high-tech campaigns for good, it's an innovative way to spotlight a cause. The site, navigated by clicking and dragging, is meant to highlight the work of Swedish nonprofit Reach for Change, which harnesses social entrepreneurs to improve the lives of children and wants to focus attention on problems such as the international refugee crisis and global warming.

Clicking on a pulsing object as it floats through the site's digital black cosmos takes viewers to a story of a project realized through Reach for Change -- a center for disabled children in Tanzania, for example, or woodworking workshop at a Russian orphanage.

"This site is powered by dreamers," a description of it reads. "As they sleep, their dreams will illuminate stories that once started as a dream."

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Anna, a student in China, is one of five sleepers sharing their personal data on the site The Never Ending Stories. "We believe that when a dream comes true, it sets a never-ending chain of change in motion," the site says. Reach for Change

Visitors to the site can follow the sleepers' collective physical stats in the site's upper left, where text displays how many of them are asleep at any given time and shares their average heart and respiration rates.

It's also possible to find out the names and backgrounds of individual sleepers, young social activists located in Ethiopia, Ghana, Sweden, China and the US, as well as information about their sleep intensity and duration. As of this writing, for example, a student named Anna in China, also known as Dreamer 0001, is asleep with a heart rate of 49 and a sleep intensity of 76 percent.

Cult movie "The NeverEnding Story" inspired the site. In that 1984 fantasy film, a young boy can only save a place from destruction through his imagination. While the site's a great example of digital creativity, it sadly doesn't actually offer a Webcam window into dreamers' specific imaginings (maybe that will come in version 2.0).