Just a few years ago, the idea of electrically stimulating your brain in the comfort of your own home would have sounded pretty weird, and probably like a bad idea.
But the practice of brain-zapping—in particular, an easy-to-pull-off technique called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)—has quickly advanced from labs to living rooms. DIYers are building their own devices and trading tips online, while startups are bringing out consumer products.
With that as the backdrop, a group of neuroscientists and manufacturers met in New York City on Sunday 28 August to discuss potential regulations for brain stimulation devices sold directly to consumers. “Neuromodulation is already here—it’s on Amazon, it’s in the coverage of the Olympics, it’s everywhere,” said conference organizer Marom Bikson, a professor at the City College of New York. “But there isn’t a cohesive message from scientists or industry about regulations. As a community, we’re behind.”