BrainKit 1.0 released

Nathan Whitmore continues to push the envelope on DIY brain stimulation. Somewhat above my limited capabilities, we can assume that as the project evolves, the build will get simpler.

BrainKit 1.0 released
To download BrainKit, click here to go to its GitHub page. You can also see an earlier post which lays out some of the concepts behind BrainKit here.

Planning BrainKit started about a year ago when I was thinking about the question “now that putting together the hardware and software to make a relatively inexpensive device to stimulate the brain is basically a solved problem, what is the next major obstacle to the use of noninvasive brain stimulation?” The answer was (and still is) figuring out where in the brain to stimulate to achieve some desired effect.

BrainKit was inspired by this idea, a brain stimulator which also is capable of monitoring brain activity and using statistics to understand the neural correlates of mental states and design stimulation montages more intelligently. For instance, BrainKit can find brain regions that show different patterns of activity in fatigued and alert states—and then allow you to stimulate these regions to see if it affects alertness.

Full article:

Understanding public (mis)understanding of tDCS for enhancement

Hey, we’re mentioned in a legit scientific journal! The article traces the evolution of tDCS in the public’s consciousness, and points out how sites like my own and the tDCS subReddit serve a valuable function in filtering information as presented in the general media, which often has a tendency to sensationalize soundbite takeaways from legit scientific papers. So chalk one up for citizen science and let’s hope this is a step along the way towards legit research that taps into the DIY communities. i.e. University-level research that creates methodologies for using DIY generated data.

The availability of tDCS as a consumer device, as well as the vivid online exchange of experiences with tDCS as well as instructions for DIY use (cf.:; may be explanatory factors shaping the change in public attitudes towards tDCS, The observation that in the LATER PERIOD misunderstanding was reduced can be regarded as evidence that the public was developing a more mature understanding of tDCS. In view of the past trends, it appears important to inform the public accurately on the short- and long-term consequences of tDCS on healthy individuals and on the plausibility of enhancement effects. In addition, detailed knowledge of the current practice and prevalence of DIY tDCS is also needed.

Source: Understanding public (mis)understanding of tDCS for enhancement

ApeX Type A Device

[Update 2/28/15] I’ve been re-stacking the post order lately around whatever seems especially significant or interesting. This is the only device I’ve seen so far with dual electrode (sets of) capacity and I’m curious to hear if anyone has used the ApeX device.]

A device I’ve not seen previously. Looks to be simple to understand and well-crafted. Will have to wait for the Redditors to take it apart to know what’s inside. Looks like a one man operation, Claude Barreto. Reasonably priced as well. Interesting that you have to agree to the Terms and Conditions of Sale before you can get to the order form. I’m intrigued by the dual electrode option. That one could apply tDCS to two locations simultaneously is, I think, new for any of the DIY-level tDCS devices. [I am not affiliated with this or any other device mentioned on the site.]

Frontiers | Open questions on the mechanisms of neuromodulation with applied and endogenous electric fields

via @MaromBikson Download links below.

Despite increased knowledge, and more sophisticated experimental and modeling approaches, fundamental questions remain about how electricity can interact with ongoing brain function in information processing or as a medical intervention. Specifically, what biophysical and network mechanisms allow for weak electric fields to strongly influence neuronal activity and function? How can strong and weak fields induce meaningful changes in CNS function? How do abnormal endogenous electric fields contribute to pathophysiology? Topics included in the review range from the role of field effects in cortical oscillations, transcranial electrical stimulation, deep brain stimulation, modeling of field effects, and the role of field effects in neurological diseases such as epilepsy, hemifacial spasm, trigeminal neuralgia, and multiple sclerosis.

via Frontiers | Open questions on the mechanisms of neuromodulation with applied and endogenous electric fields.

tDCS + Meditation — tDCS and Neurodynamics —A Modern Monk

The first type of meditation I practice is the standard “focus” meditation that is taught on, and there are great walk-throughs there. I use tDCS to calm the conscious mind by placing the cathode on FpZ the center of the forehead and the anode at OZ center of the back of the head. I do this montage for 5–10 minutes, then remove the electrodes and meditate, focusing on my breath, for 10–15 minutes. I usually do this in the morning, and afterwards, I usually place the anode at FpZ and cathode on upper left arm and run the current for another 5–10 minutes. I find this is helpful in getting into work mode.

via tDCS + Meditation — tDCS and Neurodynamics — Medium.

Experimenting with electricity | Al Jazeera America

Exactly! Erica and Jeff have decided on a self-testing protocol I believe will effectively measure their tDCS results. Dual N-Back (online requires Silverlight) or download Brain Workshop.

By the time you read this there should also be a video interview at the TechKnow site.
Jeff’s (Boinger) Open tDCS: tDCS Regulation Circuits – Open Source Hardware project on GitHub:
Jeff’s DIY part list:
And PCB board:
Follow Jeff’s Reddit thread.:

TechKnow: How do you plan on measuring your progress with the tDCS headset?
Erica: So I’m using a brain training game called Dual N-Back. So far I’ve tracked my progress with the game without using the tDCS, and I plan to use tDCS, and then practice the game and see how far I can get.
TechKnow: Are you going to record this information? Do you plan on making it available to other people?
Erica: I plan to track the amount of time I’m spending using tDCS and how well I’m performing in the game to see what is correlated.

via Experimenting with electricity | Al Jazeera America.

I want to be your neuroscience experiment | Al Jazeera America

My sense is that the author’s experience is very similar to that of most tDCS DIYers – an initial flurry of interest followed by frustration at not knowing if ‘it’s working’. That’s why it’s exciting to see easily replicated protocols for self-testing emerging around the Dual N-Back game that is available for free.

A device mentioned in the article is J.D. Leadam’s ‘Brain Stimulator’ (No affiliation)

We’d decided to try the “accelerated learning” montage that had been developed and tested by DARPA. The best test of the device we could come up with was to play Nintendo Wii Mario Kart while brain zapping for 20 minutes — our performance seemed easily measurable (we would just play the same course, over and over) and a lot less violent. At first I was miserable, my green dinosaur avatar, Yoshi, falling off the track on every hairpin turn and barely finishing the course in 3:30. By the end, though, I was cracking 3:00. Of course, there was no control here, no way to tell whether I was simply learning a new skill, but I was cautiously optimistic.

In the weeks that followed, I stuck to it, undertaking 20 minutes of tDCS four to five days a week. I decided to try to teach myself interactive web design, and whenever I’d run the current through my brain, I’d accompany it with 20 minutes on Code Academy, the teach-yourself-to-code megasite. But after a few weeks, the results I was looking for seemed elusive. I was obviously getting better at coding, but there was no way for me to know what role the electricity was playing. And it was still kind of painful. So I quit, and about two months after visiting Bikson’s lab, my tDCS device is gathering dust on a shelf in my office.

via I want to be your neuroscience experiment | Al Jazeera America.

Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources. : tDCS

User x0rn just posted this to the tDCS SubReddit. Check original source (link at bottom) for updates.

Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources.(self.tDCS)
by x0rn

There seemed to be a lack of cited montage sources. Here is a compiled list:

**NOTE: Here is a link to the 10/20 placement chart. DLPFC (F3) means Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex Position F3*

Anode (+) RED Cathode (-) BLACK Target Behavior Study
DLPFC (F3) DLPFC (F4) Decreased depression/ pain / increased organization Smith & Clithero, (2009)
DLPFC (F3) Right shoulder Decreased depression / reduced food alcohol craving Smith & Clithero, (2009)
LPFC (F3) Supra Orbital (Fp2) Improved Mood Vanderhasselt et. al., (2013)
DLPFC (F4) DLPFC (F3) Reduce risk taking Fecteau, et al., (2007)
Mastoid (P10) DLPFC (F4) Increased impulsiveness / Increased present awareness Beeli, et al., (2008), Ledoux, (1996)
Left Orbital (Fp1) DLPFC (F4) Improved social interaction / reduced punishment of unfair behavior Knoch, et al., (2008)
DLPFC(F3) DLPFC (F4) Reduced cigarette, alcohol, junk food craving Fregni, et al., (2007), Boggio et al., (2007) Fregni, et al., (2007)
Orbital PFC (Fp1 and/or Fp2) Shoulder Attention improvement Gladwin, et al., (2012)
Temporal (T4) Temporla(T3) Insight improvement / “Savant Learning” Chi & Snider (2011)
Temporal (T4 & T6) Parietal (P4) Shoulder Improved socialization Sébastien Hétu (20101
Parietal (P4) Parietal (P3) Improved math understating / increased verbal impariment Kadosh (2010)
Occipital (O1, Oz, and or O2) base of neck or CZ Improves visual motor reaction times Anatal & Paulus (2008)
Base of neck Occipital (O1 & O2) Reduced migraine pain Antal (2011)
Temporal (T3) Shoulder Improved audio processing Ladeira, et. al., (2011)
C3 and or C4 Orbital (Fp1 or Fp2) Improved fine motor control /reduced pain oppisite side of anode Lindenberg et al., (2010), Fregni, (2006) Vineset, et. al, (2006)
Supra Orbital (FP1 or Fp2 depending on pain side) Neck (opposite side) Pain reduction /possible increase in impulsiveness Mendonca (2011) Beeli (2008)
Right Temple (F10) Left shoulder Accelerated Learning Kruse (2008) DARPAD
DLPC (F3 &F4) Mastiod (P10 & P9) Theta-tDCS2 Improved sleep Marshal (2011)2

Please share more if you have them. I’ll add to the list.

1 Source article was indirectly talking about using tDCS to map social interactions.

2 The author used theta-tDCS which seems to induce theta waves unlike traditional tDCS.

via Simple Montage list with electrode placement and research sources. : tDCS.

Do-It-Yourself Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation – Smart Drug Smarts

Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:15 — 32.1MB)

Jesse interviews Nathan Whitmore, creator of the open-source project OpenBrainStim, an affordable alternative to commercial transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) devices. Nathan tells us how the project got started, how the “DIY-tCDS” community has grown, and how you can experiment from the comfort of your own home.

via Do-It-Yourself Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation – Smart Drug Smarts.

DIY tDCS Safety Standards | SpeakWisdom

Brent Williams of SpeakWisdom just published a checklist for DIY tDCSers. Links at bottom to full list.

DIY tDCS Safety Standards

As a potential or current do-it-yourself tDCS user I agree to the following:

1.   I will, if reasonably possible, seek out a medical professional for tDCS advice, treatments and follow-up.

2.   If I have cranial scar tissue, an implant, or other unusual medical condition, I will seek clearance from my doctor before using tDCS. If I have a seizure disorder I will refrain from using tDCS or use it only under direct supervision of qualified medical personnel.

3.   I will not, under any circumstances, directly connect a battery to my head. I understand that I could greatly exceed the maximum 2 mA current limit used by tDCS researchers, possibly harming myself in the process.

via DIY tDCS Safety Standards | SpeakWisdom.

Hacking The Brain With Electricity: Don’t Try This At Home | NPR

Jared Seehafer wearing his homemade tDCS device.

Jared Seehafer wearing his homemade tDCS device.

Courtesy of Amy Standen

That’s what Jared Seehafer did. He’s a 28-year-old medical device consultant in San Francisco who heads the group.

He made his own tDCS machine using an elastic headband and a couple of electrodes. It’s powered by a 9-volt battery and produces 1 to 2 milliamps of electricity, approximately what it takes to light one small LED bulb.

via Hacking The Brain With Electricity: Don’t Try This At Home : Shots – Health News : NPR.