LUCI – The lucid dream inducer

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luci_product_11_nov_2013

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:

luci_original_image_11_nov_2013

Original image

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.

Stock photo

Stock photo

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:

luci_new_image_11_nov_2013

Second image

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.)

TDA7294pr-2

Stock photo. Wires should enter from the side.

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.

As of 4:09PM PST, 11 Nov 2013

As of 4:09PM PST, 11 Nov 2013

The project creator, GXP Technologies, dismissed these concerns:

luci_creator_reaction_11_nov_2013

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.

(Credit to /u/kenabi and /u/namochan for the observations about the amplifier and Arduino. See the full thread here.)

EDIT: The thrilling conclusion!

{ 5 comments to read ... please submit one more! }

  1. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/caluka/lucitm-advanced-lucid-dream-inducer/posts/659310

    He just made up some story about an “investor” and cancelled the campaign. A good way for a scammer to save face but sort of a win-win since the people who backed this thing will not have their money taken. None of the story in his last post really adds up… he couldn’t get to the office to video a real prototype yet he showed one to this guy, etc.

    • Clearly it is a scam but it’s also comedy skit!

      GXP: Give me 400,000 and I will sell you a machine that let’s you control your dreams.
      Investors: That sounds AMAZING but do you have an image or video of this amazing machine?
      GXP: I do but I can’t show you because I am going on vacation and will only return after the campaign has ended!
      Investors: Can you show us an image of LUCI that you have on your phone?
      GXP: I don’t have an image of the prototype on my phone.
      Investors: How about pulling it from your email server, you must have sent an image of your prototype to someone or some company?
      GXP: No I have never sent an image of the prototype to anyone.
      GXP: You know what? I showed the prototype to a new investor today and he thinks LUCI is so awesome that he will invest the 400,000 himself!
      Investors: So you suddenly have the prototype again? How the heck could the investor give you that much money without even trying it out (obviously requires a weeks worth of sleep)
      GXP: No comment!

      LMAO

  2. Johan™ Strandberg

    The two pictures are not just a change in levels. The geometry of the amplifier board is different, and it is easy to see. Look at the two large blue capacitors at the bottom. Imagine a horizontal line just touching the topmost points of those capacitors.

    In the first picture, this virtual line crosses the second from the bottom of the bright yellow components on the board. Incidentally, this is also true for the stock photo.

    In the second picture, the virtual line crosses the third from the bottom of the yellow components.

    Strange that changing the levels distorts the picture like that, just as if somebody moved a layer in photoshop or something.

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