Robin is the founder of Caputron which is a distributor of tDCS and other TES devices. Here he demonstrates the Activadose II tDCS device. For reasons mentioned elsewhere on the blog, this is the device I recommend (this is an FDA approved – for Iontophoresis – device. I’d suggest the 2mA model with the 3×3 sponge set – this is closest to what most research studies use). Caputron provides DIYtDCS readers a generous discount (I also earn a referral fee) when you use discount code ‘diytdcs’ at checkout (for any product offered by Caputron). I interviewed Robin back in 2015 when he was first getting started. Check out that post here.
Robin at Caputron sends word of their new ‘exclusively from Caputron’ ActivaDose 29V 2mA max Iontophoresis device. My one caveat with the ActivaDose had been the potential for user error in choosing a 4mA setting (rather than the 1 or 2mA setting traditionally used in tDCS research). This new device removes that possibility. This is the device you could confidently show your Mom how to use. The new version maintains the ActivaDose FDA approval for iontophoresis. This new version becomes the device I can recommend in all confidence, also because Caputron stands behind all the products they offer.
Readers of the blog get a generous discount on this, or any other (including GoFlow) device purchased at Caputron using promo code diytdcs at checkout.
Vincent Clark is an author on this paper. He’s associated with the Mind Research Network. We earlier covered work by Michael Weisend, also from MRN around a Jan. 2012 paper. This paper offers further details and is available to the public.
Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation Procedures
TDCS was applied using an ActivaDose II Iontophoresis Delivery Unit, which provides for delivery of a constant low level of direct current. Square-shaped (11 cm2) saline-soaked (0.9% sodium saline solution) sponge electrodes were attached to the participant with self-adhesive bandage strips. The anode was placed near electrode site F10 in the 10-10 EEG system, over the right sphenoid bone. The cathode was placed on the contralateral (left) upper arm. The site of the anode was selected based on our previous fMRI results showing that this brain region was the primary locus of neural activity associated with performance this task .
Anodal 2 mA current was applied to the scalp electrode site F10 in the 10-10 EEG system. The resulting enhancement of performance in the threat detection task is consistent with our previous fMRI results  showing that the right inferior frontal cortex is a major locus of a distributed brain network that mediates performance on this task. The right parietal cortex is a part of this network and could also be a target for stimulation.
One possible explanation for the improvement in detection performance (hit rate) in the threat detection task is that tDCS increases general arousal, thereby leading to a change in response bias in the more liberal direction , which would increase the hit rate. However, computation of signal detection metrics showed that there were no significant effects of tDCS on the ß measure of response bias. Instead, the effect of brain stimulation was to enhance perceptual sensitivity, d′.
The improvement in perceptual sensitivity suggests that participants receiving tDCS were better able to encode stimulus features that distinguished targets and non-targets, which in turn led to accelerated learning and improved retention.
Ted pointed this out to me in a comment. We’ve met both Alan Snyder and Michael Weisend elsewhere on the blog. This video sums up nicely the areas they’re working in. Anyone else alarmed at the thought of there being a pressing need to fill drone pilot seats and that perhaps tDCS could cut training time in half?
Photo links to YouTube video.
Obviously we don’t have access to fMRI, yet. But the method Wesiend is demonstrating in the video certainly seems the way to go: Isolate the area of the brain used in the desired skill, and then apply tDCS to facilitate learning.
This is definitely a pattern-recognition type of experiment.
…When you are a novice, there’s low-level activation in the medial temporal lobes. But in experts, there’s very high-level activation. And so we targeted tDCS at these areas that increase activity in order to accelerate training. (This is context of drone pilot training)
I need help identifying and understanding this electrode setup. Note that it’s the same electrode being used in this shot from a Scientific America article discussing the same research. If there was an electrode in the middle of the cluster, that might be the Anode and the surrounding electrodes could be Cathodes (as seems to be what is developing around HD-tDCS). But a symmetrical 5 node electrode cluster is confusing me.
I was trying to understand why Soterix (Marom Bikson) would be developing devices that could administer 8 channels of tDCS simultaneously. Putting the pieces of these articles, papers, and videos together, it becomes pretty clear that tDCS, used to enhance training, especially in military (DOD) contexts, could be hugely profitable.
P.S. In this study, published in the Jan 2012 issue of Neuroimage, Weisend reports using fMRI to locate optimal tDCS application area. Unfortunately, it’s behind a paywall.
TDCS guided using fMRI significantly accelerates learning to identify concealed objects.
Anodal 2.0 mA tDCS performed for 30 min over these regions in a series of single-blind, randomized studies resulted in significant improvements in learning and performance compared with 0.1 mA tDCS. This difference in performance increased to a factor of two after a one-hour delay. A dose-response effect of current strength on learning was also found.