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    I built some goggles to experiment with strobe light induced hallucinations. At the moment they are driven by an arduino. Each eye has a single very bight 3 channel LED inside a diffusor ( well, cut up and glued back together ping pong ball ). Each eye has a 24 bit color range, courtesy of the arduino PWM output pins. The arduino program can load a series of strobe light patches, which are stored in the arduino EEPROM memory, and played back as a sequence. It entertains me. My friends have reported rather complex hallucinations under the influence of this device. I however have only been able to experience simple geometric hallucinations.

    Sat, Jan 17, 2009  Permanent link

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    Infinitas     Sat, Jan 17, 2009  Permanent link
    That is really cool. Can you elaborate on the hallucinations your friends experienced? Also, how quickly did the geometric patterns move, if at all? While hallucinating can you walk around and communicate normally?

    Inside of human bodies there is a chemical called Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). Is the most powerful psychedelic "drug" know, and it is postulated that it is produced inside our pineal glade. Our pineal glade works very closely with melatonin as well, so maybe the strobes lights were able to "trigger" production of day-time melatonin and therefore, produce DMT-like hallucinations, which typically cause the person to see rapidly changing and brilliantly colored geometric shapes.
    michaelerule     Sat, Jan 17, 2009  Permanent link
    Unless you have epliepsy, the goggles do not affect anything besides your visual system. You are completely lucid when wearing them. I would not reccomend walking around because you will not be able to see anything, and the strobe effect is somewhat disorienting.

    The behavior of the patterns depended on the nature of the particular stimulus waveform. Some strobe patterns produced relatively stable stimuli. Under others the patterns shifted faster than I could percieve them. The effects seem to grow stronger the longer a person is exposed to the goggles. I believe viewing hallucinations more complex than simple geometric patterns requires the person to be in a relaxed state of mind. In this case, the geometric hallucinations begin to play with higher levels of vision ( perhaps direct some hypnagogic hallucinations ). My friends reported things such as rotating 3D shapes, corridors, honeycomb patterns, and more complex fanasy like hallucinations.

    The effect of this aparatus is probably not due to DMT. The onset of basic patterns is quite sudden, and you feel very little residual effects ( besides possibly a mild eye headache, depending on the settings you were using ). From what I understand, DMT is a transient metabolic intermediate, and the quantities present in the brain under normal circumstances are degraded so rapidly that they never have a chance to diffuse and start causing interesting things. In order for DMT to be involved, we would have to somehow have the visual input effect the pineal gland, have the cells there perform mass synthesis of a chemical they were never meant to keep around, and then have that chemical be transported / diffused to somewhere where it can affect the rest of the brain. Additionally, the complete absebce of after effects suggests that the underlying chemistry of the brain is not altered by the device. Furthermore, recent research ( not yet published, working on it, should be out within a year ) suggests that this phemomena can be explained entirely by the effects of lateral connections in the visual cortex, no drugs required. The basic idea is that the brain evolved and learned to see certain things. Multicolored strobe lights are most certainly not one of those things. These patterns change as fast as the brain can adapt, preventing it from properly processing the stimulus. The result : hallucinations. As for DMT being the most powerful hallucinogenic drug... I'd still like to see someone synthesize the N-benzyl modification of 2-CE or DOET, and give it a try. These compound has never been made and is allready illegal in the UK. Theoretically, these compounds should have extremely high affinity for the 5-HT-2a receptor, however, this may not predict their actual psychedelic activity.