In this blog post, I’ll attempt to address some questions I have received as result of posting parts 1 and 2 of my review of the foc.us tDCS headset. I’ll also pass along some editorial comments and tips.
My wife and I have been using the headset for several days now. We both find it easy to use and much less cumbersome than using a “traditional” tDCS device with a separate box, wires, and electrodes. The light-weight, secure fitting foc.us headset allows you to be very mobile as a session is underway. Not having a box of some kind to tote around (along with a tangle of wires, headband, etc.) make tDCS sessions much less of a hassle. Even if you use accessory wires on the foc.us headset, they attach to the headset so are out of the way.
The foc.us headset is a giant leap forward for the DIY market and probably will find its way into research-oriented and prescribed tDCS too.
OK, it’s not perfect. Here are some annoyances and helpful tips.
- Having the iOS app sure would help. I hope it is approved by Apple soon!
- The round sponges are only slightly larger than the sponge socket when wet. It’s possible to knock them out while placing the headset on the head. Plus, if you let the sponges fully dry repeatedly they tend not to expand quite as much when wet, so are more likely to fall out.
- Perhaps storing the sponges in a small cup of water (with a mild disinfectant), so they never completely dry out will help extend their life? I’m trying that now.
- Suggestion: If you can find and adequate source for sponge material (I haven’t found a good match yet) cut your own. Make your sponges slightly larger than the original. They don’t have to be round. Cut them square, then snip the corners of the square. An eight sided sponge works fine. Finding the right thickness is a challenge.
- Will the headset fit any size/shape head? I can imagine not. While the headset is flexible and probably will fit “average” heads, it is not fully adjustable. Perhaps version two will better address “fit”. In case the current model just does not work for you, foc.us offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
Here are some questions I have received and my considered opinion:
- Which “mode” should I use for treating various ailments? The foc.us headset has four current delivery modes, sine-wave, constant current, pulsed, and random. tDCS research is conducted using constant current DC and in my opinion, that is the mode that should be used unless you have specific recommendation from a physician or are conducting research in an appropriate setting.
- How do you keep the external electrodes in place? The external electrodes are the sticky “TENS” style so will need a good skin area to attach. I suppose it is possible to adapt the included wires to an “Amrex” type sponge electrode (so bands could be used), but I have not investigated that yet.
- How long does the battery last? I don’t have an exact number, but it seems to last through many tDCS sessions before needing a charge.
- Can you suggest various electrode placements? I’ve had this request from a number of people and will attempt to provide some guidance in my next post – including links to relevant research.
- Have you found any “show stopper” issues with the foc.us headset? None so far. It seems a solid product that may help bring tDCS to the world! I’m anxiously awaiting the iOS app though!
Coming in Part 4
Ok, ok, I got the message You want more on electrode placement for various specific cases (depression, chronic pain, memory, savant learning, etc.) My next post will provide as much information as possible on electrode placements.
Your questions and comments are always welcome. firstname.lastname@example.org