How To Electrify Your Brain To Be Smarter With a 9-Volt Battery

How To Electrify Your Brain To Be Smarter With a 9-Volt Battery

Transcranial direct current stimulation can make your brain work better. DARPA proved it can make you better at video games, the U.S. Air Force has shown it cuts drone remote-pilot training in half, and Harvard researchers have used it to treat depression. So what is this magical device that powerfully manipulates your brain function and where can you get one?

It’s not much more than a battery and a bunch of wires. In fact, you could actually make it yourself.

But that doesn’t mean that you should try it at home. Though no one so far has reported seizures or other negative effects, sending any amount of electricity into your brain without the supervision of a medical professional is not the best idea. That all said, it’s shockingly easy to build a transcranial direct current stimulator, or tDCS, just like the one used in all of those experiments.

All you need is a 9-volt battery hooked up to some kind of resistor — (one DIYer used a Radio Shack Electronics Learning Lab) — and electrodes, which can be purchased on eBay.

Folks have been talking about the mind-hacking benefits of low-level electrical brain stimulation for years, and scientists even say we should have access to it. Why hasn’t anyone developed a product one could buy so we don’t have to McGyver our own? Scientific American’s blog today discusses the ethics of a so-called “electrical thinking cap.” Would it be fair? Would parents be weirdly manipulating their kids’ brains? Would it be like electronic brain doping?

Maybe the explanation is simpler. Maybe no one sees a profit in something that any middle-school science student could build for 10 bucks? Sure, you could maybe buy the one the Harvard researchers used, but it’s really intended for clinics and costs close to $1,000. So where’s the consumer version?

I can imagine folks paying for something that’s beautifully designed, painless (which apparently it is for the most part, minus some discomfort getting the thing to adhere to your head, depending on how much hair you have), and makes you smarter. Better yet, it sounds like a great app! Can one of you Y combinator kids get on that please? [Scientific American]

Image: Neuropsychopharmacology

This Electric Superbike Packs Enough Juice for 185 Miles of Cruising

 

This Electric Superbike Packs Enough Juice for 185 Miles of Cruising

Sam Biddle — When you think electric vehicle, you might think of some piddling, golf cart-like geezer, humming its way along gently. Not a futuristic, 125 mph super-cycle. The Lito Sora motorcycle hardly looks like what it is—100% electric and fierce.

The Canadian-made Sora not only looks like it drove out of Blade Runner, but has some real world specs to lust after: 12 kilowatt-hours of lithium polymer battery life, a touch dashboard with GPS, and a 185 mile range off one charge. And that GPS? It’ll adjust power consumption on the fly, depending on how distant your destination is.

That one charge, however, will take some time—eight hours to juice ‘er up again. The Sora also only exists at the prototype right now, and you can bet on Tesla’s sizzling grave that the thing will probably cost extravagantly more than anything you’ll ever dream of affording. But you can drool! That’s always free. [Lito via GizMag]

via This Electric Superbike Packs Enough Juice for 185 Miles of Cruising.

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Brammo Gets Dirty With Six Speeds | Autopia | Wired.com

 

Electric motorcycles are taking a big step forward.

Brammo announced this morning that it is rolling out a new line of electric dirt bikes featuring six-speed transmissions, an unprecedented development that promises to boost performance and increase range. Until now, electric motorcycles have used direct drive, providing optimal acceleration or top speed but rarely both.

By introducing multiple gears, the Oregon company’s line of Engage and Encite motorcycles can offer wheelie-inducing acceleration and grin-inducing top speed. Company boss Craig Bramscher claims its top-tier motocrosser rivals the performance of a 250cc four-stroke gasoline motorcycle and hopes to prove it this weekend at the big MiniMotoSX race in Las Vegas.

“The acceleration of these bikes is just amazing,” he says. “We’ve had some professional riders on it and they’ve been blown away.”

via Brammo Gets Dirty With Six Speeds | Autopia | Wired.com.

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Powertrekk charges gadgets over USB, using one fuel cell and one Li-ion battery (video) — Engadget

Powertrekk charges gadgets over USB, using one fuel cell and one Li-ion battery (video) — Engadget.