Lucid dream machines are devices which attempt to make the process of lucid dreaming so easy that anyone can do it any time they fall asleep. The most common type of lucid dreaming machine is an eye mask which puts off visual and audio cues while the individual is asleep. The theory behind this is that once you see the flashing lights or hear the audio in your dream, you will remember that you are dreaming. This creates an external reality check. Many individuals with a lot of lucid dreaming experience state that the best way to become aware in your dreams is to figure out that you are dreaming by doing mundane things such as pinching yourself, since one rarely experiences physical pain in dreams. The cues produced by these lucid dream machines provide similar reality checks which may remind one that they are dreaming. However, they do not train a person to become a better lucid dreamer in general.
Lucid dreaming machines are often very intelligent, only giving cues when you are in an REM state, and stopping the cues once you have become lucid. However, some people find it very difficult to sleep with the mask on, and you still have to practice to learn that the flashing lights indicate dreaming. They are very expensive, as well, so many individuals find themselves looking for alternatives.
For those who do not want to buy lucid dream machines, there are many kits which will allow you to make your own lucid dreaming machines for much cheaper than the pre-made versions. These home-made versions can be as expensive or as cheap as you would like them to be and can include whatever features you think will help you to lucid dream the most easily. Home-made lucid dreaming masks are definitely a good way to figure out if you want to invest in a more expensive pre-constructed model.
Another type of technology which I have found very effective in working with lucid dreaming is that of binaural beats. Binaural beats are auditory processing tones which are played in to the ears, with a different frequency going in to each ear. These frequencies correspond to different brainwave frequencies, and so listening to these tones moves the mind towards that beat frequency. This can energize or relax the user depending on the beats that are utilized.
In particular, binaural beats which are tuned to the Theta waves of the brain are very encouraging for lucid dreaming. They allow the individual to fall in to REM sleep but are still stimulating enough to allow the individual to be capable of being lucid. Binaural beats have the benefit of rarely disturbing sleep, although they do not provide clear cues to show the individual that they are dreaming.
In the end, lucid dream machines are very effective for many people. However, they do not train you how to lucid dream on your own, and lucid dream masks may stop some people from sleeping well. Given how expensive they can be, it may be beneficial to simply start working with lucid dreaming with time tested methods such as meditation or even perhaps dreaming herbs, as discussed elsewhere on our site. These tools will help you truly learn to lucid dream on your own and have been used for thousands of years for just this purpose! Given the much more reasonable prices of these alternative methods, there is no reason not to give them a try before investing in a pricey lucid dream machine.