Engineers in the US are developing a headband that uses light and sound to promote lucid dreaming.

Lucid dreaming – best known from the 2010 film Inception - is where the sleeper becomes aware they are dreaming, enabling him or her to then control elements of the dream.   According to Harvard Business Review, using lucid dreaming to practice real-life tasks can improve performance.

Lucid dreaming is difficult to attain though, but a new headband called Aurora is designed to help.

Worn at night, it works during the REM stage of sleep – the brain’s most active - to play lights and sounds designed to bring on lucid dreaming.

Light effects within the headband - such as loud flashes or softer tones - can be customised using the app to create dream signs. Dream signs are elements that appear regularly in dreams. They function as a reality check, so when the dreamer sees them they are aware they are dreaming - an effect which helps to precipitate lucid dreaming.

Aurora is the brainchild of San Diego-based iWinks. The company is using crowd-funding website Kickstarter to get funding - at the time of writing it had reached its $90,000 target (£54,300).

Aurora includes an accelerometer to record electroencephalogram (EEG) brainwaves to track sleep patterns and eye movement. The information is sent using built-in Bluetooth to an Android or Apple smartphone app, which helps wake the dreamer up at the optimal moment.

IWinks is expecting to ship Aurora in June priced £106 ($175).

What do you think of Aurora - would you like to control your dreams or dream the natural way? Let us know below.