tDCS vs Neuralink

Neuralink and Elon Musk recently provided a second update on their implanted brain stimulation and recording system. You can watch the recording here:

Is tDCS better than Neuralink? That’s of course a bit of a cheeky question. But at we will answer it!

1. Availability. tDCS vs Neuralink?

You can get tDCS now. And tDCS is affordable. See our list of recommended tDCS devices and exclusive discounts here.

Neuralink is currently not available to anyone who is not a pig. While Elon Musk announced the FDA gave Neuralink “breakthrough” status, that’s a little misleading. While some “breakthrough” devices are available to patients, the Neuralink is not even built in a final form for that yet.


2. Cost. What is a better buy: tDCS or Neuralink?

Neurolink was noted to bring down the cost of implanted complex brain stimulation devices to a consumer level. But that’s like bringing down the price of flying cars. First, until the first consumer ready Neuralink is made, no one can really talk about cost. Second, it’s still going to be very expensive. 

tDCS is available now, so we actually know the prices. While some of the more advanced research systems by Soterix Medical can run tens of thousands of dollars, consumer tDCS devices run from around $100 for entry level to about $400 for top systems.


3. What is it good for? Which is more useful tDCS or Neuralink?

Elon Musk listed a bunch of potential applications that Neurolink might be used for:

There is good evidence that an implanted system can help with these diseases, but not with Neuralink devices since they are not tested in humans. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) from Medtronic, and Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) from Boston Scientific are examples of existing devices that work. Though Musk did call them “brute force.” 

tDCS has been tested and used for all the neurological problems listed by Elon Musk, including Depression.


4. What is cooler? tDCS or Neuralink?

Neuralink is cool. It’s a company with a vision and the resources to break the mold. Sure they are building on decades of “brute force” implant work, but they are pushing for a new form factor and consumer look that could really change how people interact with the technology.

tDCS has already changed how people interact with technology. From treating disease, to increasing brain performance, to being better at sports. tDCS is of course ready today and we can expect devices to get more advanced, so cooler.

“WHAT IS COOLER” WINNER: TIE. tDCS is working now and getting better all the time. Neuralink is cool and could put a computer inside our head.

OVERALL WINNER: What is better tDCS or Neuralink?

The winner is tDCS. The reason is we like technology that is already available, known to work, affordable and will only get cheaper and better.


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