Brain Boost

The Kernel

Meet the Internet’s DIY Brain Hackers

September 7, 2014

Online magazine feature:

Wire together some resistors, current regulators, and a 9-volt battery, then connect the slapdash device to your head with saline-soaked sponges that serve as electrodes and get ready. A mild current will flow across your skull.

According to some research and anecdotes, this exercise could help you enter a flow-state that enhances meditation or zap your neurons enough to master a video game or wrench you out of the extreme mood swings that characterize bipolar disorder.

Those are just a few of the achievements hinted at by a technology called transcranial direct current stimulation, or tDCS. Since the early 2000s, scientists have documented that electrical stimulation of just a few milliamps could improve learning, alleviate depression, sharpen reflexes, and lessen cravings for alcohol, sweets, and cigarettes, among other benefits. Those findings, along with the ease with which a device can be assembled, have encouraged a mix of technophiles, hackers, and self-improvement hopefuls to jump into DIY brain enhancement.


photo by ulleo via pixabay

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