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Nuts & Volts Magazine (July 2017)

tDCS — Brain hacking?

By Walter Noon    View In Digital Edition  

I’ve been following recent exciting research in neurostimulation using transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), so I thought I’d design a simple circuit to try it out myself. However, even though this technology is over 100 years old and every study seems to tout the safety of these tiny currents, I want to emphasize that this is certainly a “fringe” electronic project in every sense! Proceed with caution!


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I made a small error in the original schematic that I provided Nuts & Volts, in which I showed pin 4 of the 7660 connected to ground. In this configuration, the device is functional, and will put out the minimum voltage required for a good tDCS session.

However, you can choose the higher voltage output recommended in the article by simply moving the ground wire from pin 4 to pin 3 on the 7660. (Pin 4 will be left unconnected.)

A small number of articles detailing tDCS research have indicated that "more is not necessarily better," and that finding the minimum voltage that works for you actually produces stronger results.

So, I've decided to pretend this was a fortuitous error, and mention that you might like to give it a try both ways.

If you do, I hope you'll let us know what you think.

My apologies to the readers of Nuts & Volts for the schematic error.



What’s in the zip?

Figure 2 Schematic, Option 2