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I have been interested in using the emotiv hardware for the same thing but giving some type of voice command to the dreamer that they are dreaming. It looks like it may be possible after getting a few responses from the admins on the emotiv forums.
Hi Lee, that is correct. You can use the Cognitiv suite to train specific patterns you wish to distinguish. The intention of the suite is to allow users to invent their own mental commands which are linked to specific actions such as lifting an object or making it disappear - these are states the user can deliberately invoke with a little practice. There's no reason why the signature generation system won't work to distinguish REM sleep from ordinary sleep, as long as someone can operate Control Panel during the training phase to collect training examples. Once trained, the data can be stored in a particular user profile (so you can use another profile to store your gameplay, home automation or robotic control command sets and call those up when you want them). Cpgnitiv can distinguish between up to four different "named" conditions (plus NEUTRAL) so if you training person is able to recgnise different sleep patterns you should be able to classify the onset of up to four of them.
I hope to get my hardware in the next few weeks and start looking at different brainwaves of sleep, lucid states, nightmares/sleep paralysis, and OBE type of experiences. I will be sure to include readouts of what I find.