Open BCI Stretch Goal to Add tDCS!

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?

And here’s the Kickstarter Campaign. Check out the video. Fascinating!

OpenBCI: Biosensing for Everybody

Announcing tDCS Shield Stretch Goal

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.

Spread the word, and help us double our goal!

Joel testing a breadboarded prototype of the tDCS Shield: “Ooooo! It’s tingly…”
Joel testing a breadboarded prototype of the tDCS Shield: “Ooooo! It’s tingly…”

The Case for OpenSource DIY Neuroenhancement | Infectious Perspectives

But if a group of neuroscientists who have experience with TDCS built an OpenSource device and explained how to build and use it in a public forum, such as YouTube, then the DIY community would be armed with the necessary knowledge to execute legal, safe, and controlled brain stimulation. This would bypass the necessity of shifting power into the hands of profit-seeking corporations or eavesdropping government agencies, and encourage a self-initiated and self-regulated approach to the direct manipulation of brain states. We manipulate our brain states all the time, actually. This common manipulation is called thinking, and individuals should have as much control of that as possible.

via The Case for OpenSource DIY Neuroenhancement | Infectious Perspectives.

The Open tDCS Project

Update 7/2/14 First of all, thanks Z for pointing out the two schematics that are now considered dangerous, in the sense that they could lead to an initial ‘zap’ and possible burn.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, I myself am not an electronics person. The notion of ‘Open tDCS’ was to develop an excellent device through Upverter (or similar online platform), that anyone could then order directly from a Chinese manufacturer (thereby circumnavigating any regulation issues etc).
We have yet to find an engineer to lead and build the design team and my thoughts about why are simply that people are too busy, or that they see a possible financial gain for their own device somewhere down the road. Considering the original post/Upverter account is a year and a half old, it seems unlikely we’ll find someone, but you never know!
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Upverter is an online platform that allows for electronics to be designed, parted, and built. As I understand it, once the design is fixed, you shop for parts – inside of Upverter, and then submit your project (to Upverter’s Chinese partners) to be built. I’d mentioned Upverter on the tDCS subReddit a few times. I was hoping to pique the curiosity of the engineer types that had designed and built their own tDCS devices… Crowdsource the design, and then anyone can order one!

What happened was I got an email from Eric Evenchick, a ‘customer success / hardware engineer person’ at Upverter! Eric had seen my post and written to help. He waived the team fee, set up the project and ported the OpenStim Arduino-based tDCS design, by ohsnapitsnathan (Reddit handle).

I hope I didn’t step on any toes by collecting these schematics to one place. I wanted engineers to be able to see quickly how other designers have thought about building their devices. If you’re an engineer type interested in tDCS please join our Upverter team.

It feels silly to put it this way, when the very nature of Open implies extreme democracy, but here goes… Here’s my vision of an Open tDCS project.

  • Build an Upverter team
  • Design, part, and prototype a minimum viable tDCS device
  • Working with an online ‘cognitive test’ site, build a protocol for measuring the effectiveness of tDCS

Later on we could develop a multi-channel device, and maybe this is just a fantasy, but if it could interact with the internet, researchers could design tests and collect data non-locally. How cool would that be?

The rest of this post will attempt to collect in one place the various schematics I’ve seen for DIY tDCS devices.

I called this one Imgur earlier on the blog. It comes from 55tfg7879fe42e345 (Reddit handle)

tDCS by 55tfg7879fe42e345

tDCS by 55tfg7879fe42e345

 

brmlab our Czech friends

brmlab-tdcs

The Focus device.

Focus V 1

Focus V 1

And then the more advanced, programmable tDCS devices. OpenStim

OpenStim

OpenStim

Open Stim Multi-Channel

OpenStim Multi-Channel

OpenStim Multi-Channel

Shawn Nock Version 2

Shawn Nock Version 2

Shawn Nock Version 2

If you know of a schematic I missed please let me know, and even if you’re not an engineer, consider joining Upverter and ‘Following’ our project.