LIFTiD tDCS neuro-stimulator review – A wearable that can improve focus and productivity

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LIFTiD tDCS headset

REVIEW – Where I work, randomization and context-switching are the orders of the day.  Sometimes it is hard to change your focus to a new task, and with age that only becomes more difficult.  The science behind tDCS says that it can help with that, and more specifically, the LIFTiD headset says it will sharpen focus and make you more alert.  Put on the lab coat, Dexter – let’s follow the science…

What is it?

The LIFTiD headset is a tDCS neuro-stimulator.  tDCS stands for Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, and what it really means is that the headset will apply a mild electric current to targeted areas of your brain to stimulate those centers and produce effects like alertness.  Neuro-stimulation can also be used to calm and soothe, and more – all by applying current to the appropriate parts of the brain.  In effect, it trains your brain to produce a specific result without the use of stimulants (sugar or caffeine) or other enhancers like energy drinks.

What’s in the box?

  • The LIFTiD headset with an elastic band to hold it in place while in use
  • Electrode pads
  • Saline solution bottle and salt measuring spoon
  • A mirror to help adjust where the headset goes
  • A charging cable
  • A carrying case
  • The usual collection of user manuals and product information

How does it work?

First, a disclaimer: tDCS and LIFTiD specifically should NOT be used to self-treat any medical condition or disease.  See a proper doctor for that.

OK, a second disclaimer: I have tried tDCS before with a different headset.  While that was a failed experience, it was because of the quality of the device and the accompanying app, not because tDCS is snake oil.  There are plenty of studies you can find just by using Google which shows this works.  I just wanted to say that because – before you spend money on a device like this – you should invest the time to ensure the device is built with quality and is well supported by the manufacturer.  In other words, don’t buy a knockoff from Ali Baba because it is cheaper.

With that out of the way, let’s take stock of the box contents:

LIFTiD box contents

The first step to prepare for your first session is to put salt using one scoop of the measuring spoon and warm water into the saline bottle (center and bottom left, respectively).  Shake the bottle until the salt has fully mixed in.  And remember to use warm water because it makes dissolving the salt much faster.  With the salt dissolved, take two of the sponges from the bag (bottom right) and soak them with the saline solution for the first time.  The sponges are flattened before shipment and they need to expand to their full size.

While we are waiting for the sponges, let’s explore the headset.

Front of LIFTiD headset

This is the front of the headset.  Not a lot to see here.  At least you won’t look like an android while wearing it.

Back of LIFTiD headset

And the back side.  The two large circles are the electrodes and will be where we put the sponges when we are ready to begin.  In the center is the USB charging port.  It takes about 3.5 hours to go from zero to a full charge.

Bottom of LIFTiD headset

The bottom of the headset.  The button in the center starts a session.  The LED will blink red when charging or when the battery is low, and glow a nice green when fully charged.

The headset is charged and the sponges damp (not soaking wet) with the saline solution, so time to begin.  Put the sponges on the electrodes in the headset and then carefully place the device on your head.

Wearing the LIFTiD headset

Placement of the electrodes is VERY important.  And not every head is the same.  The headset should be centered on your forehead, and higher than it is on my head – it should be right up there at your hairline.  I had it right, but I moved to get the camera set up and the band was not tight, so it slipped.  Lesson learned: use the included mirror to help place the headset in the right position and then tighten the bands.  It doesn’t need to be very tight, just enough to hold it in place.  When you are ready, press and hold the button on the bottom for a couple of seconds to start the ramp up for your session.

You should be doing something active during the session.  Reading email, writing – me, I spend every morning writing code, so that is the perfect time to have a session.  Once a day for 20 minutes will do it.

There is a mild tingling you will feel during the session.  Afterward, there may be some redness where the electrodes sit.  That goes away very quickly, so no need to freak out after your first session.

Does it work?

There is plenty of science and many studies behind tDCS to show the concept works.  So the question is does the LIFTiD headset work?  I’ve only been using this for a little over 3 weeks and I am not sure that is a long enough sample time.  I will check back in on this review in a few months to update.

See what I did there?  In the little time I have been using the headset I have noticed a difference in how I get my work done.  Not an earth-shattering, stop-the-presses kind of change, but a subtle one that has me staying in context with the task I am working on and using my big brain, get it done faster.  It is a noticeable change, enough so that I want to see how much better it will be over time.  So, yes – it does work if you take the time, do it right and make it a habit.

What I like

  • The first commercial tDCS device I have tried that works well
  • Simple and easy to use
  • I had noticeable results in 3 weeks

What I’d change

  • Nothing

Final thoughts

It is an important enough reminder that I am going to say it again – don’t use this to self-treat any actual medical condition or illness.  Do use it, though, if you want to enhance your performance (looking at you, gamers!), increase your focus (coders), stimulate your creativity (writers, artists, musicians) or just to help stay alert without the side effects of energy drinks, sugar, and caffeine.  And $149 is a very small price to pay to have a better you, right?

Price: $149.00
Where to buy: From LIFTiD and Amazon
Source: The headset was provided by LIFTiD.  Visit their web site for more details.

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5 thoughts on “LIFTiD tDCS neuro-stimulator review – A wearable that can improve focus and productivity”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. You clearly don’t understand the science and dont know how to read a scientific paper. Buy one of these, and you line the pockets of Con-Men.

  3. Lots of medical stuff works because of the placebo effect. For example, at one time in her life, my wife was given a pill to stop continual coughing when there was no medical reason for her to cough. The pill was actually a placebo pill but it stopped her coughing almost immediately and the coughing never came back.

    I would suggest that you use it for a couple of months with the device activated and for the same period with it appearing to function but actually turned off. It is important that you do not know for which period the device is really doing anything.

    I did look up some stuff on tDCS and while there appears to be some valid evidence that it helps some problems, there is very little valid evidence that it improves cognitive functions.

    I am obviously very skeptical.

  4. Steven Davis-Leader

    Liftid Buyers Beware! – – Not recommended –
    I excitedly bought from Liftid and the plastic casing was cracked right out of the box. I immediately emailed about this and then called them. They never replied. That was 2 months ago. Obviously, Cheap materials are used to make Liftid.

    On the positive side, after doing some research about another tdcs company, I bought from another company and tdcs works wonders for me. It uses a elastic headband and is much better made.
    TDCS is a great technique. However, do some research on the manufacturer before you spend the money.
    I would NOT recommend Liftid to anyone.

    1. As the manufacturer for the Liftid product, this review is spot on and the comment above is fake. In the thousands of Liftid’s sold, there has NEVER been one piece cracked or broken. The product is made of high quality ABS plastic and will not break unless you drive over it. This person is obviously a competitor that is desperate to write something disparaging. Liftid has top notch customer service and if there was a call, it would be replied to immediately. It is sad that this person and we know who it is, has to make rude and negative remarks about an outstanding product to further their own brand. We wish they would take the high road. Anyway, thank you for the outstanding review and Happy New Year to all.

  5. On the positive side, after doing some research about another tdcs company, I bought from another company and tdcs works wonders for me. It uses a elastic headband and is much better made.
    TDCS is a great technique. However, do some research on the manufacturer before you spend the money.

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