Caputron Now Carrying Foc.us V2 Device

Robin at Caputron dropped me a note to let me know they are now carrying the Foc.us V2 device. Purchased alone, it does not include electrodes, but there is an option to add their ‘starter kit’ which includes the Caputron Universal Strap, Caputron Banana Adapter Cable for Focus Device, and Choice of 2×2 or 3×3 Electrodes. (Use diytdcs at checkout for generous discount). Foc.us V2 Device at Caputron.
If what attracted you to tDCS is all the news (and hype) around the possible benefits, cognitive and otherwise, that tDCS may provide, then I recommend the Foc.us V2 device. It’s had a thorough going over, and apart from the (then included) electrodes, proved to be an amazing piece of gear. tDCS, tACS, tRNS, tPCS in a single sub $300 unit with a software interface!

Elsewhere on the blog I’ve stated that I recommend the ActivaDose ll device. This is an FDA approved device – it’s NOT FDA approved for tDCS – it’s approval is for use as an Iontophoresis device. The point is that the electronics and workmanship have attained an FDA level of approval. It’s simple and straightforward to use.

The only reason I haven’t recommended other tDCS devices on the market is because I’m not in a position to analyze the quality of their workmanship myself. I recommend the Activadose ll because people looking to experiment with tDCS for the treatment of depression can’t be assumed to have a toolset for determining the mechanical workmanship of an electrical device they’re going to be attaching to their heads! The Activadose ll, an FDA approved device, at least assures the buyer the device itself is of high quality. It’s also more likely to retain some resale value in the event someone decides later on to sell it.

I recommend the Foc.us V2 because of it’s variety of stimulation modes. Folks who are sophisticated enough about neurostimulation to be experimenting with cognitive enhancement would obviously benefit from having the option to test other forms of stimulation that frequently come up in the scientific literature.

But I should also mention that I do have a financial relationship with both Foc.us and Caputron. Years after starting the blog, and only after determining that both companies are providing a high quality service that could benefit DIYtDCS.com readers, I approached them with an interest in attaining a discount for my readers. When you use code diytdcs at checkout at either Foc.us or Caputron you get a discount, and I get a small commission.

tDCS For The Masses – Foc.us ‘Go Flow’

Update 2/29/16 Some details of operation I borrowed from the Foc.us rep on the tDCS subReddit.

Yes, you can do any combination of time and current between the minimum and maximum limits.

The current level can be set from 0.5mA to 2mA, and is indicated with ORANGE lights. Pushing up or down the rocker will change the value in 0.25mA steps. e.g. 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2mA.

Once the current is set the lights change to GREEN. This is to set the time and pushing the rocker up or down will change in increments of 5 mins e..g. 5, 10, etc.. to a maximum of 35 mins.

Once you press to confirm the time the session will start. There is a slow ramp-up of current at session start for comfort. The gauge will now change from ORANGE to GREEN every 5 seconds.

During an active session the lights will show you the actual current value or approximate time remaining. Using the same Orange for current and green for duration scales.

If you find the current level too low or too high, you can change it during an active session. Simply press the rocker up or down – but please note the current will be ramped for comfort, so wait for each change to take effect. The lights will instantly change to orange to show you your changed level.

Changing current during active sessions is in 0.125mA steps for fine grained control and accuracy. You can see these hard steps by half lit lights. The current level shown on the ORANGE display is the actual, accurate current.

You can click the rocker during an active session to stop and the current will ramp down and off.

“Does it taper down the current over time, or will it be at a constant current over time?” no, this device will not give you incorrect current, neither too low, nor too high. It will be accurate from start to stop. It will not fail just because you have used the wrong amount of salt or your own choice of electrodes or any of the other things that trip up other devices. If for any reason the device detects it cannot maintain the target current, the LEDs will flash green/orange and the session will be stopped.

At focus we believe that the first job of a current stimulator is to produce an accurate safe current. It is staggering that this is considered optional by other manufacturers.

I think you’ll find its a really simple device to use and operate.
If it flashes orange and green – that means the headset is not connected. If it flashes just orange, that means it cannot reach even 0.5mA. This means the resistance somewhere is too high, usually the pads. Please try with fresh pads and problem should be gone.

Update 1/22/16: Part ll of Brent Williams GoFlow review focuses on choosing electrodes.
Update 1/21/16:  Brent Williams has just published a review of the GoFlow with how-to details The Brain Hacking Revolution Continues: Introducing the foc.us Go Flow – Part 1

Not shipping until March but now taking pre-orders, Now shipping. Foc.us ‘Go Flow’ tDCS device comes in at under $30 including cables and electrodes (hydrogel only for now). But you can purchase the device itself (and use your own electrodes) for less than $15.

Read the ‘Go Flow’ story here: The Story of Focus Go Flow or order one for yourself here: FOCUS Go Flow tDCS Brain Stimulator

20160105focusGoFlow

“Unfocus” on foc.us study (was…) Widely available brain training device could impair memory: study

[Update 9/3] Because the tweets just keep on tweeting!

Study author Laura Steenbergen:

We performed this study in August/September 2014, which was before the V2 headset or software were available or even announced.

The study states:

In this study, we tested whether the commercial transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) headset foc.us improves cognitive performance, as advertised in the media.

In fact, at the time the study took place, using the Focus v1 device, the (June 25, 2014) website stated:

Stronger, faster, quicker

Excite your prefrontal cortex and get the edge in online gaming

 

[Update 8/30 Getting a little bit into the weeds here, but having put some time/thought into this r/tDCS thread reply I thought to post it here too to further clarify my issues with the study.]

I’m not sure why you call it ‘the standard foc.us montage’. The v1 montage was a bad choice, they recognized that and moved on. What would you say about the foc.us product as presented on their website now? Fregni’s study isn’t what I’d hope for in a study either. Maybe this ‘Unfocus’ study should have confirmed Fregni’s results using their testing protocol with a ‘medical tDCS apparatus’ before finding that the foc.us v1 device ‘impairs working memory’. In the study, they state:

In this study, we tested whether the commercial transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) headset foc.us improves cognitive performance, as advertised in the media.

But in another interview (translated) she states:

Reuning: The company that sells this device, thus claiming that it improves working memory. Is that correct? Steenbergen: Well, at least for the new version of the device they advertise on their website. The version we tested is intended to improve performance in computer games, according to the manufacturer.

Did foc.us ever state that the v1 ‘improved working memory’? I don’t think so. Here’s what I think this whole study is really about (again, translated from the same article):

…Of the medical equipment we know that they are safe. We know which regulations need to be followed if one wants to use them. But for the non-prescription devices there are no such provisions.

And yes, totally agree that all sorts of claims are being made. It’s a challenge to parse out good science, especially now that VC and DARPA money are coming into brain stimulation. Not to mention claims made by manufacturers of devices. But all that keeps it interesting and fun actually.

I would have been completely okay with this just being another bad tDCS study if it wasn’t so blatant a hatchet job on foc.us and the diy community in general.

[Update 8/28]

“Unfocus” on foc.us study – Our Response
For the record – the original foc.us gamer was tested and CE certified by an independent UK based Notified Body to standards EN60601-1:2006 and EN60601-2-10:2000.
It was the first CE certified consumer tDCS device. As far as we are aware, foc.us remains the only CE certified consumer tDCS device available today.

We welcome researchers who want to test our claims, especially independent 3rd parties who do it without telling us. But we find ourselves disagreeing with the facts presented and thus conclusions of this report.

Michael Oxley
foc.us co-founder

Source: “Unfocus” on foc.us study – Our Response

[Update 8/19] Noticed that Thync’s Jamie Tyler had this to say…

[Update 8/20] Have been in touch with study author Laura Steenbergen who cleared up my question about which version of the Foc.us device/software was used in the study:

We performed this study in August/September 2014, which was before the V2 headset or software were available or even announced. Hence, we used the software that belonged with the V1 apparatus (which by then was not even available for android yet ;)). Publication of scientific data is a long process, which is one of the reasons we repeatedly state that these findings only apply to V1 (we have no knowledge about V2). Confusingly, some media websites post a picture of the V2 foc.us with our findings… But that is beyond my control… I hope this clarifies the situation.. Best, Laura Steenbergen

Of course in the context of there only being one Focus device at the time, their use of the term ‘device’ would imply the entire contents of the box they received. There were no v2 headsets at the time they conducted the research. It’s my awareness of subsequent product developments that confused my initial impression. That plus the fact that the media are denigrating Focus for a product that doesn’t exist based on research that happened over a year ago.

Confused about this study… They tested the Foc.us v1 headset with the Foc.us v2 software. Then declare the device “…cannot be regarded as an alternative to CE-certified tDCS devices, the use of which has been demonstrated to be successful in promoting WM.” But the v1 headset has been controversial since Foc.us first released it! And having v2 of the app/software would imply that they made the choice not to use the newer headset (which follows a more common montage protocol). Anyway… it got published, and we’re talking about it and the buzz gremlins put their spin on it and spread it hither and yon.

In the current study, psychologists from the Netherlands worked with 24 healthy participants, attaching tDCS electrodes to their foreheads as recommended for stimulating the cortex. They used a commercial tDCS headset called “foc. us” that offers gamified and non-gamified stimulation and claims it can increase athletic endurance in addition to cognition. Participants visited the laboratory two times and were each given — unbeknownst to them — both a real stimulation session and a placebo-like service.

Source: Widely available brain training device could impair memory: study – Yahoo News
Reddit discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/tDCS/comments/3hbe3s/impaired_memory_with_focus/
Paper: “Unfocus” on foc.us : commercial tDCS headset impairs working memory

Any other type of sensory stimulation (incl different sham) could have produced same weak effects on WM #junk #tDCS http://nws.mx/1gU30dI
@sciencelaer thx read it yesterday – lights, tones, etc really could have produced same minimal WM differences – so much junk tDCS research

Timed starts in foc.us firmware 2.1

Impressive! Foc.us has just released a software upgrade that will allow replication of the lucid dreaming protocol outlined in a recent study called, “Induction of self awareness in dreams through frontal low current stimulation of gamma activity“. It will be some weeks before we start to hear back from users, but you have to hand it to Foc.us for keeping their ears open to what ‘the community‘ is interested in.

foc.us firmware 2.1

Timing is everything.
Now if you update your foc.us v2 with the new 2.1 firmware you can set your stimulation to start in the future. Why? To sleep, per chance to dream.

It seems many of you are trying to recreate the Voss, Nitsche 2014 Lucid Dreaming paper published in Nature. So we have created a program with the settings and a timer for you to set based on your sleep pattern. You will still need to estimate when you will be in REM but the program has a 10 min window for you to aim at.

Source: timed starts in foc.us firmware 2.1

Foc.us ‘Moovs’ Electrodes

Foc.us recently released a new set of electrodes that addresses many of the issues customers and reviewers had with previous releases.

tDCSFocusAltmoovs

Also very impressed to see this on their website.

Coming soon… foc.us+
Connect and share with others like you

Using foc.us+ you can find experts who can help tailor the perfect program for your neuro-modulation needs. Track your progress, monitor your improvements. take charge

Foc.us is definitely listening and doing their best to stay one step ahead of everybody else.

Time to Take Another Look At foc.us tDCS and more | SpeakWisdom


It’s a Software World Now!
If you purchase a V2 (or own one now), you may wish to update its firmware periodically to take advantage of new features. Here are some key steps:

  1. Go to the foc.us web site and create an account: https://www.foc.us/customer/account/login/
  2. Log in with the account
  3. Connect your V2 doc to your capable PC (or Mac)
  4. On the left of your screen (once logged in), select “My Downloadable Products”
  5. Click the “Microsoft Software” (or Mac) download button and install
  6. Run the installed application and allow it to check and upgrade your V2 to the latest firmware

Source: Time to Take Another Look At foc.us tDCS and more | SpeakWisdom

foc.us for research

So where is the clever researcher who will tap into Foc.us and their API to bring hundreds (thousands?) of Foc.us users into online study mode. What an opportunity to pioneer citizen science meets legit scientific research.

foc.us for research

Open standards, API and requests accepted

Foc.us v2 has all of the features found in your commercial research kit. You can run larger studies with more participants at lower cost. This includes double blind sham mode. Logging of all sessions at 50ms intervals. Set maximum current, maximum voltage, ramp up time and everyhing else.

If you have a custom request – triangle waves, custom patterns – we will code it if we can.

Foc.us Firmware – Still to Come…

A string of Foc.us news and updates over the last few days warrants our attention. Again, I’m very impressed with these announcements. Someone sat down and got very serious about creating a device/software that would fulfill everyone’s home use tDCS wish list. (Note: Have yet to see feedback from anyone actually using or having tested the Foc.us vs2 firmware upgrade yet. Will report when I do.) From the Foc.us blog. Upcoming features:

Here is an outline list of the features we will be adding to the foc.us firmware over the next few weeks

  • Calibrate – find your current and voltage for each mode
  • Save, share and download new programs
  • Motion sensor – activity tracking capability
  • Customisations – device name, pin, lock mode
  • Games – nback, dual n-back, arrow game
  • Bluetooth Low Energy support for new iOS and Android apps
  • Realtime Clock – ability to set session start time in the future
  • Vibro buzzer feedback
  • Multilingual translations

Amrex-type electrode support:
focusAmrexAdaptor

And a detailed description of the thoughts around security and what goes into their firmware updates. Impressed!

via FOC.US — foc.us firmware – still to come….

Foc.us! And Update

Petr dropped me a line with an update on what brmlab has been up to lately. Wow! Check out the photo album. Very interesting collection of crew and gadgets. Here he is with an early version of his tDCS device.

He also pointed me to the focus. I don’t know how I’d missed it. Unfortunately (for me)…

Due to F.D.A. requirements the focus v1 is not currently available for sale in the United States. If you live in the U.S. and would like to buy a focus device, please pre-register. If there is sufficient demand from U.S. customers we will seek the necessary certification.

I think we can expect a lot of that. But how cool! You can sign up for ‘priority access’ on their site.

One of the things Petr and I discussed is objective testing for use in determining whether or not a tDCS device is actually doing anything. Petr came up with some great links. Both PEBL Psychological Test Battery and Brain Workshop – a Dual N-Back game, seem to be tests you download to your own computer. But I’ve just spent the last 20 minutes doing tests on a site called Quantified Mind. Except for the  Google (only) login, it’s about perfect. A nice collection of tests and the results are collected very nicely into a statistics page that associates with your account. Cool! [Update 5/25/12] Another interesting candidate for measuring effectiveness. Lumosity research partners include Stanford and Harvard. A very basic reaction time test, HumanBenchMark.com.

Petr also mentioned that he corresponded with the GoFlow people and they are going to set up a wiki. In their recent email they announced they were a little bit behind and were waiting to hear back from Kickstarter. But that whether or not they get Kickstarter approval they’ll be moving forward soon.

All for now.
JH