What Is a tDCS Brain Stimulation Device? LIFTiD's Gadget Joined the "Craziest Pitches Ever on 'Shark Tank'"


Dec. 5 2023, Published 3:57 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Founders presented their Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) device on Shark Tank, seeking funding.

  • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation involves using a low electric current to help the brain’s neurons fire more effectively.

  • LIFTiD presented its tDCS device on ‘Shark Tank’ and did not receive a funding offer.

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What exactly is Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS)? There’s been increased scientific research into this neurostimulation technique, and the founders of the company LIFTiD pitched their tDCS device on Shark Tank in pursuit of an investment.

Let’s get a quick refresher on how the product did on the show, and what scientists say about tDCS and its potential health benefits.

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What is tDCS brain stimulation?

According to the National Institutes of Health, tDCS is a form of brain stimulation that can impact a person’s behavior. Electrodes are placed on your scalp so that electrical currents can flow between the electrodes through the brain.

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If this sounds wild to you, you may find it interesting that it’s actually been around for centuries; however, research is still relatively limited. Harvard Health Publishing notes that the goal of neurostimulation is to either “activate or inhibit parts of the brain” and that it is said to offer benefits for those suffering from depression, Alzheimer’s, and ADHD.

LIFTiD claims that its tDCS device is comfortable to wear and easy to use, and that it can help anyone who wants to improve their performance. The company says that more than 4,000 published studies support the use and benefits of tDCS.

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Although it's true that there's been research on tDCS, Harvard Health Publishing indicates that there aren't any large, long-term studies yet, and the safety of tDCS at-home devices is questionable. Research does seem to show potential benefits for people with certain conditions, but the FDA also hasn't approved tDCS.

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A tDCS device called LIFTiD was pitched on 'Shark Tank' as an alternative to coffee and other stimulants.

The LIFTiD company has a tDCS device that the founders developed in partnership with neurosurgeon Dr. Theodore H. Schwartz. According to Looper, Ken Davidov worked with Dr. Schwartz to develop the tDCS device and with his wife Allyson Davidov to market the product. The primary claim of the product: using it for 20 minutes daily while performing a task could improve focus and memory.

In Season 12, Episode 5 of the show Shark Tank, which aired Nov. 13, 2020, LIFTiD's founders asked the Sharks for a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 10 percent stake in their company, per Looper.

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The sharks tested out the LIFTiD headset briefly on the air, and Kevin O'Leary told Ken and Allyson Davidov that they joined "the lexicon of the craziest pitches ever on Shark Tank."

None of the investors felt comfortable or interested enough in the tDCS device to put any money into it, so the Davidovs left the tank empty handed.

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Is LIFTiD still in business after the company's 'Shark Tank' appearance? Here's an update.

Despite not having received any funding from Mark Cuban or the other Shark Tank stars, LIFTiD appears to still be in business, as of publication in December 2023. The company website still claims that using the tDCS device for 20 minutes a day is safe and can help you drink less caffeine, eat less sugar, and use fewer performance-enhancing products. Again, these claims have not been scientifically backed up.

The device is priced at $159 on the website.

On Amazon, LIFTiD hasn't made big waves: it only has 210 global ratings, with an average rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars.

That said, if trying out a tDCS device rom from LIFTiD or any other company has been on your mind, make sure to consult with your physician before trying anything.

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