Applying mild electrical currents to your head could take away pain, help memory and improve attention, it has been claimed.
The technique, called transcranial direct-current stimulation (TDCS) has led to an explosion in hackers attempting to try the technique for themselves.
It has proved so successful even the US military has funded work into it.
The technique works by pumping a low-intensity electrical current is passed through electrodes placed on the outside of the head.
Some studies suggest that it could help treat conditions such as depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
However, hackers have jumped on the technology, claiming it could be used for a range of ‘boosts’, include learning more quickly, or becoming better at video games.
One study of Air Force pilots showed that those who received tDCS performed 25 percent better on training tests than those who received no brain stimulation.
There are even easy to use headseats that open the technique to the general public, including the
According to claims on the device’s website, the $350 headset can increase the plasticity of the brain and makes the synapses fire faster, allowing gamers to focus better and score higher.
‘Overclock your brain using transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) to increase the plasticity of your brain,’ the firm boasts.
‘Make your synapses fire faster.’
However, hackers have made their own versions using elastic headband and a couple of electrodes.
They are often powered by a 9-volt battery and produces 1 to 2 milliamps of electricity, approximately what it takes to light one small LED bulb.
Vincent Clark, director of the Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center at the University of New Mexico, told NPR the amount of electricity is the same he uses in experiments.
‘We were interested in how can we take an average healthy person and improve their ability to learn something new,’ says Clark.
With funding from the Department of Defense, Clark set up an experiment in which subjects studied a series of complicated pictures.
Hidden in each was a threatening object, such as a weapon or a suspicious package
‘What we found,’ said Clark,
‘is that the people who received a full dose of tDCS learned twice as much in the same hour of training as people who received a very low dose of tDCS or no tDCS at all.’
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