Eliza Strickland covered the HaloNeuro tDCS device. This clip shares my hopes about the Halo… that sports serves as a gateway until they can get established. IMO we need a device manufacturer with deep pockets who can satisfy the research and regulation requirements to make tDCS (or any other form of Non-Invasive Brain Stimulation – NIBS, that is effective) mainstream.
While the authorities dither, Halo will do its best to slip into the mainstream. And athletes are just the first customers targeted by this ambitious company. In South Carolina, a neurologist is currently testing the Halo with stroke patients to see if stimulating the motor cortex speeds up rehab. Chao envisions a whole range of Halo products offering consumers different kinds of mental boosts. “What if you want to learn Chinese and we stimulate the language center?” he says. “What if we stimulate the memory center and pair that with brain-training games?”
Luciding is now taking pre-orders for the LucidCatcher. (Lots more on this site about lucid dreaming). Like much of the tDCS research, studies report conflicting results using tACS to induce lucid dreaming. Note that Foc.us has had a 40 Hz tACS mode built into their V2 device and also has a lucid dreaming kit. It’s been out long enough now that I would think that widespread success with using it to induce lucid dreams would have been widely reported. The LucidCatcher does come in a form factor optimized for sleeping. I’m curious to know more about the unusual electrode setup.
How does it work?
We typically see the dreams during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase. The device detects your REM and pushes mild electric impulses to the prefrontal cortex at a frequency of 40 Hz. It brings the logical brain back into service and makes you realize that you must be in a dream.
You’ll recognize the dream by millions of different signs that contradicts the reality because your consciousness evokes.
I was happy to lend Nathan my Thync. I knew he’d get to the bottom of what exactly was going on. Especially in the context of exploring TES, pulsed wave forms and some of the older technologies I’d recently been made aware of in my interview with Anna Wexler, I knew the Thync device would represent the state of the art. Jamie Tyler had arranged for me to have one, most likely in my capacity as a blogger and reporter of all things related to neurostimulation. I myself did not experience any significant effects using the Thync though I did find myself using it frequently – mostly the Calm vibe. Was there some effect lying just below consciousness that my body was reacting to? Certainly nothing like the experience Manoush Zomorodi had trying Thync for her podcast episode Forget Edibles: Getting High on Wearables (really a must hear).
Focus has posted a new page on their site which directs new users to show caution in their use of DIY tDCS. Focus goes so far as to caution people under the age of 18 not to try it.
If you are under 18 you should stop here. tDCS is not suitable for children and should not be used. This is because your brain is still developing and you don’t need to mess with its neuroplasticity.
The page goes on to list the known risks and a few benefits. Interestingly, it does not mention depression. I would have to imagine due to the possibility of crossing that nebulous regulatory line around ‘medical devices’.
Focus is, as I understand it, in the midst of fulfilling orders for their GoFlow device. You can read a full review of the GoFlow on SpeakWisdom, the (primarily) tDCS-related site authored by Dr. Brent Williams. Go Flow Pro, Nice Brain Stimulation Kit!
Unfortunately the study found little to no benefit (no more than sham) using tDCS with two different montages to treat tinnitus. What is very interesting however, is that the study allowed participants to administer tDCS at home.
A Sooma tDCSTM device (Sooma Oy, Helsinki, Finland) was used in the study. The device is designed and approved for patient use with pre-programmed treatment parameters and hardware-level safety limits. Patients were given a package consisting of the stimulator unit and stimulation electrodes (consisting leads and pads) along with three pairs of sponge pouches for the electrode pads, a head cap with openings for the electrodes (Fig 1), a chinstrap and 0.9% saline solution.
In Europe, Sooma depression solution was approved for depression treatment in 2014.
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.
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.
In clinical studies, the PoNS device coupled with targeted functional therapy induces cranial nerve noninvasive neuromodulation (CN-NINM). Therapy consists of targeted physical, occupational and cognitive exercises, based on the patient’s deficits. (The PoNS™ Device from Helius Medical)
A while ago, I was asked by the makers of TheBrainDriver to write a review of the device. Being curious about this device myself, I got a review unit…and promptly forgot about it for a while while I flew around the country for interviews. But now that that’s mostly done, I’d like to share my impressions on this device!
Dr. Shapiro’s company (he is the co-founder and non-executive director), Pure Tech Health created Tal Medical, to develop an LFMS treatment/device.
This is most likely the nexus for looking into LFMS in the first place:
The panel discusses TMS, which has recently been approved by the FDA for treatment of depression. But Dr. Shapiro goes on to discuss LFMS, which (to my readers anyway) is especially interesting because it uses so little power to achieve its effects. (As opposed to TMS which is too complicated and powerful to ever become part of the DIY community. Never say never!)
In 2013, Tal received initial proof-of-concept data from a randomized, double-blind, sham-controlled trial in patients with major depressive and bipolar disorders conducted by McLean Hospital, a leading psychiatric research hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. In the study, a single 20-minute treatment demonstrated rapid onset of action, substantial effect size, and a strong safety profile. Given this unique, rapid effect of LFMS treatment, the National Institute of Mental Health has selected LFMS for a multi-site clinical trial. The trial is examining the efficacy and durability of the treatment over an extended period of time in patients with major depressive disorder.
Researching possible patents led to Michael Rohan, Ph.D. and the Harvard Low Field Magnetic Stimulation Lab. I assume there is a partnership between the Harvard Lab, McLean Hospital and Tal Medical, though I could not find any formal announcement. Click through the lab link to do a deeper dive into ongoing research they are presently involved with, including clinical trials.
[Did you just pop back for the Caputron promo code? It’s ‘diytdcs’ without the quotes.]
Robin Azzam is the founder of Caputron. While pursuing a Masters in medical engineering at New York City College, Robin realized there was a need in the research community for a place to source brain stimulation supplies. Shortly after leaving a position in product development at Soterix Medical, Robin and a few friends set up Caputron with the intention of becoming a ‘one stop shop’ for all things related to brain stimulation. His time at Soterix, working alongside Marom Bikson, led to the sort of relationships that allowed Caputron to become a distributor for high-end products like Soterix HD-tDCS and Neurosoft’s TMS devices. But Caputron also began to carry a large selection of electrodes, cables, straps and stimulation-related accessories. Caputron is now developing their own products, and hope to have their own research-grade home DC current device on the market by the end of the year. They recently began selling their mindGear device which I will cover in detail in the near future.
What DIYtDCS readers will likely find most exciting is Caputron’s ActivaDose II Starter Kit. This is the FDA cleared iontopheresis device widely used ‘off label’ for tDCS. It is the device used by two of my previous podcast guests, Dr. Jim Fugedy (for treating depression) and, (at the time) Michael Weisend for research. But Caputron has customized the included accessory package making it tDCS-friendly right out of the box.
In the three years I’ve been running the blog I’ve not previously felt comfortable recommending any specific tDCS device (mostly due to my own ignorance of electronics). I’ve either had doubts about the device itself or not had confidence in the vendor’s customer support. But based on my own experience with the ActivaDose products, the fact that it’s an ‘FDA cleared’ device, and also that it’s coming from Robin and his team, I feel, finally, that we have a product/vendor you could recommend your Mother to. (Assuming she does her homework!)
To that extent, I asked for, and Robin agreed to, a discount on all Caputron products for DIYtDCS readers. Simply plug the promo code ‘diytdcs’ (without quotation marks) into the Voucher window at checkout for a generous discount.
Here’s our interview. Your feedback is welcomed!
Note: The ActivaDose II has a max output of 4.0 mA which, as you know if you’ve done your homework, is twice as much as is typically used in tDCS research.
Update 3/1/17 Not sure when it happened, but a reader alerted me to the fact the tDCS Shield addon was abandoned.
After many conversations with experts in the field of neuroscience and brain-computer interfacing, we have made the difficult decision to discontinue development of the tDCS Shield.
Very interesting! A successful ‘maker’ lab with previous EEG device success (32 channel, research-level EEG device) embarks on a lower cost, 4 channel EEG-device-for-the-masses Kickstarter campaign. It’s hugely successful, and fully funded ($80k) with 30 days left to go. So they launch a ‘stretch goal’ for an additional $80k of funding to add the option to pre-order (for $50) a tDCS module.
What does this mean for you and I? Well, it at least certainly points to the possibility that within the next few years we could be sitting in front of a computer screen, monitoring our EEG output (brainwaves, more or less) while we try out a tDCS (tACS, tRNS, tPCS etc.) montage. As in, “Oh Interesting! 1.5 mA stimulation to DLPFC (your forehead) tunes my Theta into that zone that makes me feel like writing a song!” (Kidding but you get the idea).
This gets me really excited when I think about the possibility of thousands of us doing it and contributing the collective data in a useful way to scientific research.
This is what first caught my eye! 3d printed HD-tDCS electrodes?
At OpenBCI, we are cautiously optimistic about the beneficial potential of transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). As always, safety is our number one priority. We hope to educate the public about proper tDCS techniques, and to offer a new, open-source platform for studying the effects of tDCS on electrical brain activity. If we hit the $160,000 stretch goal, we will provide the option to pre-order a tDCS Shield that is compatible with both the Ganglion and our 32bit board. In addition, we will design custom Ultracortex node mounts for tDCS-specific electrodes. Anybody with the complete Ganglion+Ultracortex+tDCS system will be able to perform simultaneous neurostimulation and neurorecording, trying out different electrode configurations and creating custom “closed-loop” brain-computer interface systems.
tDCS is a type of neurostimulation in which a low-amperage direct current is passed through the scalp from a positively charged electrode (anode) to a negatively charged electrode (cathode). Some research has claimed that tDCS can increase cognitive performance and assist in the treatment of cognitive disorders such as depression and ADHD. Other studies have reported that there is no statistically conclusive evidence that tDCS has any net cognitive effect. Despite the effects of tDCS being critically debated, it is widely accepted that tDCS—when adhering to safety protocols and done in a controlled manner—is a safe method of brain stimulation.
From an older post, but I found it in a tweet from Halo Neuroscience‘s Senior iOS engineer, Rich Lowenberg @richlowenberg. We met Halo Neuroscience back in May, 2014. My sense is we may be hearing more from them soon (though it’s just a hunch based on recent media mentions). If you’re in the San Francisco area, they are recruiting for a TES (transcranial electric stimulation) ‘Hand Strength Study‘.
Halo Neuroscience is working on technology to “boost brain function” and “[elevate] cognitive performance” via headband. Speaking to TechCrunch, Halo co-founder Amol Sarva explained that the company’s tech is being developed to offer not just a remedy but also an edge, as it “stimulates brain function in [both] sick people and healthy people.” He continued:
It makes the brain work better—a wide range of potential effects from accelerating learning to improving body movement control […The] field is a big new area—not just sensing things in the brain or ‘reading’ it, but sending waves into the brain and ‘writing’ to it […] Nobody believed it was real! We didn’t either. Until we tried it.
Halo uses a version of the popular transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) method, which involves “priming” or “inhibiting” brain cells’ firing patterns by sending low levels of electricity through electrodes in certain scalp areas. This makes particular brain cells more or less likely to fire, therefore targeting brain activity toward certain performance standards.
Note that I do have a relationship with Caputron. When you make a purchase from their site using promo code diytdcs (add to ‘voucher’ box, any item on their site) you receive a discount and I receive an equivalent amount in exchange for providing them a visitor. I have been offered similar relationships with various vendors, but Caputron was the first I felt comfortable partnering with, primarily because their customer support and communication has been outstanding. But also because they carry the ActivaDose Iontophoresis Device which is an FDA approved device (approved for iontophoresis, not tDCS, but the point is that the components and quality are medical grade.) Bundled with the Caputron electrode kit, this is an excellent choice for anyone looking to experiment with tDCS. This is the only device I am personally recommending at this time.
Caputron is rapidly becoming the primary distributor of all things brain stimulation. This puts them in the unique position of being able to bundle appropriate electrodes and cables with the various devices they carry.
But Caputron are also manufacturers and we can look forward to interesting tDCS related products of their own coming soon.