From HCE Wiki - The Human Cognitive Enhancement Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Category Transcranial direct-current stimulation
Developer GoFlow
Announced March 2012 [1]
Released Developers:
Consumers: project cancelled [2]
Price 99 USD (March 2012)[3] the device was never shipped
Max output 2 mA2 T
0.002 A
Session duration 18001,800 s
30 minute
Scalp location unspecified
Weight g (unknown)

buttons [6]

Data available
Risk factor
Medical prescription No

GoFlow should be small head mounted device which provides transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). The device was developed by students at the University of Michigan and was announced as first direct-to-consumer tDCS device. It was, however, never shipped due to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerns.[1]

GoFlow consists of head-mounted device, which includes two sponge electrodes, [5] current source chip, 12 V battery, resistors connected to a four-position switch[7], 5 mA safety fuse[4] and map of brain regions.[5]

Main Characteristics

GoFlow is head mounted plastic tDCS device which is standalone. There are placed two electrodes on the device, anode and cathode. While the prototype of the device seemed to use sticky electrodes [3] the developed device contained sponge electrodes.[6] There is stated elsewhere that tDCS devices used 9 V battery[5][8], but Kouzani et. al. claim that GoFlow uses 12 V battery.[7] Additionally, the photographs of the final form of GoFlow suggests that it contains 12 V battery.[6] The amount of the current it selected by four-position switch.[7] should have been shipped with the map of brain regions, in order to let users know the proper placement of electrodes.[5]

The manufacturers of GoFlow intended to develop the first low-cost commercial tDCS device.[4] Due to FDA concerns, GoFlow's Kickstarter campaign was cancelled.[9] Although, they claim the willingness to continue the project[9], later on they sold their mailing list to Foc.us and abandoned the project.[1] Consequently, they supported Foc.us device which was shipped from June 2013.[2] As an allusion to this cancelled project, Foc.us entitled one of their devices Go Flow.[10]

GoFlow - inside

The device was advertised at http://flowstateengaged.com/.[1] However, this website does not contain any information about it at the moment.


The main purpose is to enhance skills of its users by low-cost and publicly available tDCS device.

Company & People

GoFlow was originally developed by students at the University of Michigan but it has never been shipped.

  • Matt Sornson - the co-founder of GoFlow
  • Nick Woodhams - the co-founder of GoFlow[1]
  • Benjamin Syzek - Ph.D neuroscience student at Michigan State University[11]

Important Dates

Schematic of GoFlow
  • spring 2012 - the new device was announced and the Kickstarter campaign began
  • May 2012 - the Kickstarter campaign was delayed and later cancelled because of FDA involvement
  • early 2013 - the developers give up the development of an available tDCS device and sold the project to the Foc.us company
  • summer 2013 - the first device tDCS which was produced by Foc.us was released[1]


GoFlow should have caused a "flow state" to its users. This is the state of intense concentration and appears among artists, athletes or workers.[4] The developers refer to the research conducted by the US Army and DARPA, which suggested that tDCS increased the amount the tested subject learnt.[3]

In the video placed at Youtube authors claim that GoFlow increase cognitive and learning performance and motor ability. [12]

The papers which discussed GoFlow also mention that tDCS devices were used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and post-stroke motor dysfunction.[5][8]

Ethical & Health Issues

Since the device have never been shipped there are not reported any ethical or health issues linked with it. However, if it would be distributed, the issues mentioned in Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) might apply.

Public & Media Impact and Presentation

GoFlow Prototype

When GoFlow was unveiled, several papers discussed the safety of use tDCS devices at home. They were rather sceptical as Jamie Condliffe at Gizmodo who claimed:

When done correctly, by someone who knows what they're doing, direct current brain stimulation is a good idea—in fact, it's currently used by physicians to treat chronic pain. Done by you, at home, without training, it's a dumb idea. Don't do it.[13]

or Christopher Mims at MIT Technology Review pointed out:

Now, the first thing I have to say in this post about how to overclock your brain with a straightforward 20-minute application of electrical current is DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. The long-term effects of TDCS are unknown, and if you mess up and put orders of magnitude more current through your brain than is typically used in TDCS, obviously, you could kill yourself.[14]

Several authors pointed out that the presentation of the project was not really professional. Tim Verry from PC Perspectives claimed:

Personally, statements such as "our tDCS kit is the shit" and "get one of the first β1's and will help us develop β2" on the web[site] are not exactly instilling confidence to me, but if you're big into the early adopter adventure, GoFlow may have something for you to test.[8]

and Christopher Mims at MIT Technology Review argued:

Given the (lack of) production values in their promotional video, I’m not all that reassured by the included testimonial from a neuroscience graduate student.[14]

Another issue which was discussed in papers and at discussions is, that the price of device is still to high.[5][15]

Public Policy

The manufacturers claimed that Kickstarter campaign was cancelled due to FDA concerns.[9] It was rumoured that manufacturers have certain problems with FDA but Anna Waxler claims, according to personal interview with the developers, that the project was abandoned primarily from their personal reasons and that FDA involvement was only one aspect of their decision.[1]

Related Technologies, Projects, or Scientific Research

The development of GoFlow not preceded by any neuroscientific research of the developers, but they based it on the research conducted by third party. They ask professors at their university[4], but there is no report that any research have conducted.

GoFlow is mentioned in several papers as the first available tDCS device[1] or one of existent tDCS devices.[7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 WEXLER, Anna. A pragmatic analysis of the regulation of consumer transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) devices in the United States. Journal of Law and the Biosciences [online]. 2015, Oct 12. Available online at: http://jlb.oxfordjournals.org/content/2/3/669.full.pdf+html (Retrieved 1st November, 2016).
  2. 2.0 2.1 JOHN. News from GoFlow! Good and Bad. DIY tDCS [online] 2013, Jun 7. Available online at: http://www.diytdcs.com/2013/06/news-from-goflow-good-and-bad/ (Retrieved 1st November, 2016).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 JOHN. GoFlow: Learn Faster. DIY tDCS [online]. 2012, Mar 17. Available online at: http://www.diytdcs.com/2012/03/goflow-learn-faster/ (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 VANCE, Ashlee. A brain charger for $100 - but will it work?. SFGate [online]. 2012, Mar 25. Available online at: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/A-brain-charger-for-100-but-will-it-work-3432153.php#ixzz25TjyRopo (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 ANTHONY, Sebastian. GoFlow: a DIY tDCS brain-boosting kit. ExtremeTech [online]. 2012, Mar 9. Available online at: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/121861-goflow-a-diy-tdcs-brain-boosting-kit (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 WRIGHT, Karl Is. GoFlow Provides DIY Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS). UserHaven [online]. 2012, Mar 22. Available online at: http://userhaven.com/biohacking/goflow-provides-diy-transcranial-direct-current-stimulation/ (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 KOUZANI, Abbas Z. et al. Development and Validation of a Miniature Programmable tDCS Device. IEEE Transactions of Neural Systems and Rehabilitation Engineering [online]. 2015, Aug. Doi: 10.1109/TNSRE.2015.2468579 Available online at: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7202867/?arnumber=7202867&tag=1 (Retrieved 23rd November, 2016).
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 VERRY, Tim. GoFlow To Offer $99 tDCS Brain Augmentation Kit. PC Perspective [online]. 2012, Mar 12. Available online at: https://www.pcper.com/news/General-Tech/GoFlow-Offer-99-tDCS-Brain-Augmentation-Kit (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 JOHN. GoFlow Kickstarter Campaign DENIED! DIY tDCS [online] 2013, Jun 7. Available online at: http://www.diytdcs.com/2012/05/goflow-kickstarter-campaign-denied/(Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  10. OXLEY, Michael. The Story of Focus Go Flow. Foc.us Blog [online]. 2016, Jan 5. Available online at: https://www.foc.us/blog/the-story-of-focus-go-flow.html (Retrieved 14th November, 2016).
  11. WEBSTER, Andrew. GoFlow kit lets you build your own brain stimulation machine for $99. The Verge [online]. 2012, Mar 14. Available online at: http://www.theverge.com/2012/3/14/2871740/goflow-kit-tdcs-brain-stimulation (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  12. FLOWSTATEENGAGED'S CHANNEL. GoFlow β1 - Funfomercial. Youtube [online]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZDD880rSSk (Retrieved 22nd November, 2016).
  13. CONDLIFFE, Jamie. Why DIY Brain Stimulation Is a Really Dumb Idea. Gizmodo [online]. 2012, Mar 9. Available online at: http://gizmodo.com/5891883/why-diy-brain-stimulation-is-a-really-dumb-idea (Retrieved 23rd November, 2016).
  14. 14.0 14.1 MIMS, Christopher. DIY Kit Overclocks Your Brain With Direct Current. MIT Technology Review [online]. 2012, Mar 09. Available online at: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/427177/diy-kit-overclocks-your-brain-with-direct-current/ (Retrieved 21st November, 2016).
  15. ROBUSTO68. Reply. Gizmodo [online]. 2012, Mar 9. Available online at: http://gizmodo.com/5891883/why-diy-brain-stimulation-is-a-really-dumb-idea#replies (Retrieved 23rd November, 2016).