LUCI was supposed to induce lucid dreams, to detect when the user is in REM sleep and signal them to take control. Instead, with almost $400k CAD raised and only a few days left to go, evidence is mounting that LUCI is just another internet scam.
The drama started this weekend when a backer suggested that an image of the prototype had been photoshopped. Here is the original image showing an amplifier on the left, an Arduino in the center, and the headband/EEG/earbuds on the right:
The amplifier is a TDA7293 and looks suspiciously similar to its stock photo. Pay special attention to the through holes on each corner, which are black like the stock photo and not the color of the table.
The LUCI campaign dismissed this concern, claiming there were rubber feet on the part to protect the desk. They then replaced the image of the prototype with this one in which the levels are blown out:
I’m no expert in imagine manipulation, so I won’t contribute any speculation. However, I will point out that the wires appear to be coming from the top of the terminals even though they should enter from the side. (The top of the terminal is a screw used to anchor the wire in place.)
Also, the TDA7293 is an audio amplifier capable of driving passive speakers with up to 250 W. Here, the output appears to be connected to one of the power pins of an OSEPP Uno R3 Plus, which makes as much sense as attaching the wires to the screw and not the actual terminal.
This, in combination with suspicions regarding the validity of the project sponsors GXP Technologies and the Caluka Group, has resulted in an unprecedented withdrawal of funding.
The project creator, GXP Technologies, dismissed these concerns:
Kickstarter has been quiet so far, but their FAQ make it clear they take no responsibility for project outcomes, so it’s not clear if they will intervene. With only 2 days to go in the campaign, though, they will have to act soon if they’re to act at all.