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Announcing the GANGLION and the ULTRACORTEX—a $99 biodata acquisition device and a 3D-printed, brain-sensing headset.
Announcing the GANGLION and the ULTRACORTEX—a $99 biodata acquisition device and a 3D-printed, brain-sensing headset.
644 backers pledged $168,829 to help bring this project to life.

Announcing tDCS Shield Stretch Goal

Posted by Joel Murphy & Conor Russomanno (Creator)

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…”

OpenBCI tDCS Shield Tech Specs:

  • Operating Voltage: 12V 
  • Variable Current Range: 0-2 mA (manually and digitally controllable) 
  • On-Shield Current Sensing 
  • Compatible with The Ganglion & 32bit Board 
  • Compatible with tDCS-specific Ultracortex electrode mounts 
  • On-shield LED bargraph for current value visualization 
  • Open Hardware Design

Additional tDCS Resources:

Once again, thank you for the amazing support.

All the best,

The OpenBCI Team

Agustina Jacobi, Tieg Zaharia, and 5 more people like this update.


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    1. Joel Murphy & Conor Russomanno 2-time creator on

      @Daniel Warren
      You will be able to pre-order the tDCS systems on our webstore in January.
      Information about this will be sent out in a survey.

    2. Missing avatar

      Daniel Warren on

      now that the stretch goal of 160,000$ has been hit, how do I add the tDCS to my pledge/order?

    3. Joel Murphy & Conor Russomanno 2-time creator on

      @Joel [another Joel! Cheers!] Thanks for your support! you are absolutely right about our goals and strategy for further developing these ideas.

    4. Joel Murphy & Conor Russomanno 2-time creator on

      @Asher Dunn, well, you gotta start somewhere. One long term thought is that once we get the tDCS electrode design that fits with the Ganglion, we can also produce a tDCS specific board that works with the whole system. Then you'll be able to do all of the xXCS you want!

    5. Joel Murphy & Conor Russomanno 2-time creator on

      @MeccaBot I'm doing fine, Thanks! The circuit we're developing with is a charge pump that bumps the voltage from 3.3V to 18V, then it's regulated to 12V. That also makes it very hard to get much more than 6mA out of it.

    6. Missing avatar

      Joel Holmqvist on

      When developing new equipment, it is important to limit the process to well defined and achievable goals. I'd rather see well implemented tDCS, than less well executed but broader funcionality. You learn how to walk, before you start running.

      The new ultracortex clearly has potential for future development, even If it most likely can be developed further and/or supplemented. This project still has unknown stretch goals.

      I have chosen to back this project, not only because of what it will most likely end up creating, but also because I believe that the openBCI team will be able to push even further with their work.

      Patience, though, and please help me help them put the next piece of the puzzle on our table!

    7. Missing avatar

      Asher Dunn on

      It would be nice if it was both capable of other types of tCS such as tRNS, tPCS, and tACS, and had multiple channels of tCS output. This would give it excellent potential for use in research, particularly undergraduate and graduate.

      I'm rather skeptical of the practical value of the hobbyists use of tDCS—partially due to the reduction in magnitude of the effect size due to individual anatomy and the limitations in available electrode positioning approaches (The 10-20 EEG is, by and large, the most used approach--and one of the least accurate.). Bereft of a more accurate form of neuronavigation, the neurological effects of tCS sought by hobbyists will remain suppressed.

    8. MaccaBot on

      MMMMM... Joel doesn't look happy...
      Anybody Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest....?