19Th Century Diy Encephalon Stimulation

Fig. 4 (Wexler, 2016). Lindstrom's Electro-Medical Apparatus (ca. 1895), courtesy of the Bakken.

Think the do-it-yourself transcranial straight electrical flow stimulation crusade (DIY tDCS) is a technologically savvy as well as hip creation of 21st century neural engineering? MIT graduate pupil Anna Wexler has an fantabulous as well as fun review of belatedly 19th as well as early on 20th century electrical stimulation devices, namely the “medical battery” designed for habitation use.

Fig. 2 (Wexler, 2016). An promotion for 1 of the few consumer medical batteries that used solely straight electrical flow (1881, Frank Leslie's Newspaper). Courtesy of the Bakken.

Some highlights (Wexler, 2016):
  • The exercise of a portable electrotherapy device known equally the “medical battery” bears a publish of striking similarities to the modern-day exercise of tDCS.
  • Many features related to the habitation exercise tDCS—a do-it-yourself movement, anti-medical institution themes, conflicts betwixt lay as well as professional person usage—are a repetition of themes that occurred a century agone alongside regard to the medical battery.
  • Viewed inward historical context, the contemporary exercise of electrical stimulation at habitation is non unusual, but rather the latest moving ridge inward a serial of ongoing attempts past times lay individuals to utilize electricity for therapeutic purposes.

One notable difference, however, is that contemporary devices brand the distinction betwixt cranial as well as non-cranial stimulation, whereas the medical battery could locomote applied to anything that ails you: headache, backache, kidney pain, “female weakness”, “premature decline” inward men, indigestion, yous squall it.

Old timey devices designed specifically for the caput were unusual, but hither are simply about figures from the patent for a jaunty derby lid that houses a collection of medical batteries. Alas, it never went to market.

Fig. 7. (Wexler, 2016). Influenza A virus subtype H5N1 medical battery mounted into a lid equally depicted inward a 1904 patent past times George. F. Webb.

Webb (1904): “My excogitation relates to batteries, my to a greater extent than item object beingness to create a calorie-free as well as compact battery suitable for medical exercise as well as capable of create adjustment without regard to the amount of electrical flow to locomote supplied.”

Clearly, the precursors to Silicon Valley company capitalists missed out on a corking investment. OpenBCI Derby Kickstarter, anyone?

link via @DIYtDCS


Wexler, A. (2016). Recurrent themes inward the history of the habitation exercise of electrical stimulation: Transcranial straight electrical flow stimulation (tDCS) as well as the medical battery (1870–1920) Brain Stimulation DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2016.11.081

Sleek as well as fashionable design, thence as well as now.

Fig. 8. (Wexler, 2016). Left: promotion for the Konzentrator, circa 1927–1928, courtesy of the American Medical Association. Right: Thync electrical stimulation device, 2015, courtesy of Thync, Inc.

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