# Possibility of using the effects of sleep to induce a virtual environment?

I'm not sure what this guy is trying to say, or why his question got closed, but I think I can build upon it and form a solid question. When the brain enters REM Sleep, all sensory input to reality is eliminated or dulled. The person will begin dreaming as the brain creates random impulses and sends them through the brain. Through the techniques of Lucid Dreaming, the subject can learn to control the false dream reality completely. These conditions provide everything necessary for a virtual environment except they are isolated to the individual's brain.

If we were able to induce the physiological conditions of sleep (which should be a simple injection of hormones), and generate these impulses artificially(connecting the brain to a high-end computer program), then we should be able to immerse the person in a virtual environment. Lucidity could be achieved easily by programming the system to leave clues for the subject. The ramifications of this are enormous. For example, a man in China and a man in Russia could go bowling together, without leaving their own homes.

(I'm not sure if this theory already exists, but I definitely reached these conclusions myself.)

My main questions are:

1. What are the hormones necessary to induce sleep in this way?

2. Is this a safe and reliable way to immerse a subject in a virtual environment?

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the brain creates random impulses The signals are anything but random. There is a large body of literature on memory consolidation during REM sleep which would indicate that there is a lot of purposeful synaptic pruning that is going on. –  Chuck Sherrington Jun 27 '13 at 2:26
I think you have some interesting ideas, but like the other question, there's a bit too much science fiction to this. –  Chuck Sherrington Jun 27 '13 at 2:29
I agree. I like the "What are the hormones necessary to induce sleep in this way?" question but the second question seems subjective and unanswerable to me. –  Josh Gitlin Jun 28 '13 at 12:24
@ChuckSherrington To respond to the science fiction part of the question, we already have the capabilities to allow a paraplegic to control a robotic arm entirely with her brain. (extremetech.com/extreme/…) This shows that we can recieve outgoing signals from the brain to control the person in the VE. We can also send sensory input into the brain. People can see (partly) with bionic eyes. (popsci.com/science/article/2013-05/…). Anything else? –  Nick Jun 28 '13 at 22:06
@Nick If you look up some of Eberhard Fetz's papers on the motor cortex from the 1970s (many are freely available now), you'll see that it has taken us 40 years of painstaking research on the nature of the motor cortex to get this far. If you look into the the "BrainGate" technology that drives the robot arm research, you'll see it's only been tested on two patients prior to this, both unfortunately passed away, and the original company went bankrupt in the process. While I enjoy the fact that the work has finally been adapted for human beings, your full virtual reality experience –  Chuck Sherrington Jun 29 '13 at 2:20

As a matter of fact, this can be possible in the future. There have been "predictions" that within this century we will be able to upload our consciousness into computers, creating an environment where it will actually be like reality.

Now, off of theoretical, as of now it's impossible to do virtual reality. All I can provide you with is a theoretical answer, which is above.

As for hormones and safety:

• Use sleep hormones, melatonin, serotonin

As for safety, it hasn't been done, I can't answer.