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Hardware Hacking Build Science

Is DIY Brainhacking Safe? 183

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the frying-your-brain-for-fun-and-profit dept.
An anonymous reader writes "My colleague at IEEE Spectrum, Eliza Strickland, looked at the home transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) movement. People looking to boost creativity, or cure depression, are attaching electrodes to their heads using either DIT equipment or rigs from vendors like Foc.us. Advocates believe experimenting with the tech is safe, but a neuroscientist worries about removing the tech from lab safeguards..."
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Is DIY Brainhacking Safe?

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  • Stupid (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 17, 2014 @10:13PM (#46512825)

    "People looking to boost creativity, or cure depression, are attaching electrodes to their heads using either DIT equipment or rigs from vendors like Foc.us."

    If this tech can REALLY cure depression or boost creativity, then it is just as likely to cause depression or remove your creativity. I wouldn't take that chance with something as elementally "me" as my mind.

  • Re:Predictions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pitchpipe (708843) on Monday March 17, 2014 @10:59PM (#46513065)
    I'm thinking not long. Although tempting, I don't want to be the guinea pig.

    I learned how to fix and improve computers through tinkering (which I would consider a form of hacking). What usually would happen is I would try to upgrade something, break my computer, and then spend the next four hours trying to fix it. The problem here is that you would be breaking the 'fixer' with no time to google how to roll back the buggy changes.

  • Re:Go ahead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday March 18, 2014 @07:01AM (#46514595) Homepage Journal

    I think it would be very hard to fry your brain with a 9v battery, even if you couple it to your head with saline soaked sponges. It'd sting, but it's doubtful you'd be able to endure enough to do serious damage. If you want to exercise an abundance of caution, you could put a 2ma or 5ma fast blow fuse in series with the electrode (yes, they make them that small).

    More to the point is *subtle* changes in your brain because you hooked the electrodes up wrong, or overstimulated your brain with long sessions without medical supervision. You could commit a fatal error if you are treating yourself for depression and you connect the device in a way that makes the depression worse.

    One thing that's worth noting is tha most if not all the claimed benefits of tDCS can be achieved through exercise. That's worth considering as an alternative brain hacking scheme.

When you don't know what to do, walk fast and look worried.