What is tDCS?
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What to look for in a tDCS device
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Posted on Jun 10, 2018
We have compiled the below list using the sales numbers of the commercially available tDCS devices to be able to provide you an unbiased list of the most commonly purchased tDCS devices as of Dec 31, 2017. For an updated list of the best selling tDCS device of 2018 view our updated blog post.
The Activadose tDCS device was FDA cleared as an Iontophoresis stimulator. Utilizing an identical DC waveform, the device was quickly adapted in the community as a medical grade tDCS device. Because of this clearance, IRB committee's were able to easily approve the device for use in studies and the Activadose began to appear in scientific publications for tDCS. With a built-in timer, automatic current ramping and internal voltage regulator, the Activadose had many of the features included in typical research grade devices. With its increased use and popularity in clinical settings, a starter kit was created by Caputron to make the device tDCS ready out of the box.
The Focus Go Flow released as the most economically priced tDCS device. Costing only $99, the device provided a complete starter kit and complex tDCS stimulator. The device is capable of measuring electrode-skin resistance and internally changing its voltage to ensure a constant current delivery. Go Flow also features a built in timer and automatic current ramping at the start and end of a session. The device itself is only the size of a quarter and has multiple LEDS that alternate between green (time) and orange (current) to let the user know the level of current being delivered as well as the time remaining. Focus has released a few versions of the Go Flow starter kit, each of which features a different headstrap (headband, sports cap, 10/20 cap) while all utilizing the same advanced Go Flow device.
The Focus V2 tES device is currently the only commercially available tDCS device (Direct Current) that also features, tACS (Alternating Current), tPCS (Pulsed Current), and tRNS (Random Noise) stimulation. The stimulator comes with a charging dock that allows for easy recharging of its battery and an iOS/Android app where the stimulation parameters can be set. The app also allows the user to see their session history and keep track of their stimulation progress. The device comes equipped with SHAM stimulation, allowing it to be used in a research setting in addition to allowing its home users do a blind SHAM experiment on themselves. The devices comes at a higher price point that most consumer tDCS devices but comes jam packed with many additional features typically only found in high-end research devices.
The Apex devices takes advantage of the simplicity of tDCS. The device has an analog ammeter allowing the user to see the amount of current being delivered and adjust the settings via the rotary knob. In its simplistic design, the Apex device does not feature a built in timer nor does it feature automatic ramping of the current. With the Apex device, what you see is what you get. A rugged tDCS device that does exactly what it needs to, provide a DC current.
Super Specific Devices (SSD) is another brand that takes advantage of the simplicity of tDCS. Like the Apex, this device features an analog ammeter that allows the user to see the amount of current being delivered and adjust the current via the rotary knob. One thing that separates SSD from Apex is that SSD offers the option of changing the maximum output voltage available with a toggle switch. On its selectable voltage model, the user can switch between the available 12 volt and 24 volt settings. These settings allow those with high skin resistance to be able to overcome that impedance and achieve 2 mA of stimulation current.
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