This AI Company Aims to Enable Dream Control

In March, Eric Wollberg and Wesley Berry crossed paths with unique interests: Wollberg was intrigued by the concept of harnessing lucid dreams to delve into consciousness exploration, while Berry was collaborating with musician Grimes on translating neural signals into art. Both were captivated by the potential of brain-imaging tools in mapping an individual's thought patterns.

Aged 29 and 27, respectively, they jointly established Prophetic in the same month. Prophetic is a tech startup in the process of creating what they proudly refer to as the "world's inaugural wearable device for stabilizing lucid dreams." This device takes the form of a headband emitting focused ultrasound signals.

Lucid dreams manifest when a slumbering individual becomes conscious of their dream state and may gain some control over its course.

The startup recently concluded a $1.1 million funding round, which had not been previously disclosed, with contributions from a16z's Scout Fund and was spearheaded by BoxGroup, the venture capital fund noted for its early investment in the fintech company Plaid. In order to construct a prototype of their noninvasive device, dubbed the "Halo," Prophetic has joined forces with Card79 — the same firm responsible for crafting hardware for Elon Musk's brain-computer interface company, Neuralink.

Prophetic's venture into hardware comes at a juncture when several artificial intelligence firms are delving into devices and wearables. Humane AI, founded in 2017 by former Apple employees, recently unveiled its wearable, the AI Pin, during Paris Fashion Week. Additionally, renowned iPhone designer Jony Ive and OpenAI's Sam Altman are purportedly in discussions about an AI hardware project.

Wollberg and Berry, serving as Prophetic's CEO and chief technology officer respectively, intend to unveil a partially operational prototype either later this month or in early November. However, they indicate that a comprehensive test of the prototype will have to wait until the third or fourth quarter of 2024, subsequent to the completion of a year-long brain imaging study conducted in collaboration with the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behavior, a division of Radboud University in the Netherlands.

The co-founders harbor ambitious aspirations characteristic of contemporary tech startups, with Wollberg likening the company to OpenAI. Their mission is to "collectively work towards understanding the nature of consciousness," as stated on their LinkedIn page, which reads, "Prometheus stole fire from the gods, we will steal dreams from the prophets."

However, Prophetic, set to commence device shipments in the spring of 2025, still has a significant journey ahead of it, with a year remaining before a fully operational prototype can be realized and their promises fulfilled."