This is a 15 minute documentary project created as part of a post graduate course in science communications at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London. Any views documented here, or techniques shown, are in no way to be considered as being endorsed by Imperial College nor indeed the creators of the video itself.
My involvement with the project came about due to replying to a request in a Reddit subgroup dedicated to exploring Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation of the brain (tDCS) by three postgraduates: Aliyah, Letizia and Patrick (surnames withheld on request). They wanted to make a short documentary as part of their course and to feature such work being done in an amateur context.
However, they found my other interlocking interests more… interesting, although a tDCS experiment is shown being performed on a nervous looking Dr Amon Twyman (founder of Zero State) at London Hackspace. Anyway, those other interests include Transhumanism and technological occultism, the latter accounting for the interview in Treadwell’s bookshop and outside Atlantis in London (not to mention the graveyard).
So, after hours of interviews the documentary turns out to be mostly about me, with the really fun stuff omitted in order to create a coherent 15 minutes of fame (such that it is, on YouTube). Or maybe it was omitted to keep me sounding sane and not a Transhumanist fanatic plotting the end of Humanity and the resurrection of the dead (The Praxis), whilst doing ethically dubious Weird Science experiments on myself and others. Mentioning even less the drugs (mostly nootropics) and politics.
Nevertheless, the original plan (which I still intend to take forward) was to show a real experiment featuring martial arts students using a tDCS unit in order to boost performance. Unfortunately various people and organizations got cold feet at the last minute. On one hand, it looks too much like doping in sports, and on the other there are worries over legal liabilities should someone get injured (the professional indemnity insurance instructors carry probably does not cover wiring up students heads…). It would also need some kind of release form with the usual wording e.g. “I understand my brain might explode when I do this and if it does it’s all my own fault” etc.
One reason I am interested to push this forward at some point is the fact that tDCS is undoubtedly being explored for performance enhancement in sports of all kinds, in a very covert manner. This is, after all, about gaining an edge over the competition and hence very few people are reporting results openly. Consider, for example, how various reported montages (position of electrodes) and their effects might alter the outcome of an event. These would include enhanced ability to focus on the task, massively enhanced learning speeds and enhanced resistance to pain. Which explains why the US military is at the cutting edge of this research.
Anyway, just to reassure the readers, tDCS if done the way I do it (with the possibility of excessive voltages and currents eliminated) is exceedingly safe, with effects only lasting a few hours at most. There is a mass of peer reviewed science papers to testify to this. It is also trivially easy for amateurs to do these experiments and a vast amount still waiting to be learned, especially the crazy stuff that would never get past university or medical departments ethics committees.
This is all being done under the loose auspices of Zero State projects and also includes work on IR and modulated laser effects on the brain (the skull is translucent at those wavelengths), patterned magnetic fields both focused on parts of the brain as well as wide area effects and Ye Olde Classic – modulated microwave beams and their effects on crowds. Much of this stems from Russian tech (old USSR) developed during the Cold War and currently being investigated by Andrew Vladimirov (one of our collaborators and a founder of Liber Nigri Solis). Then we have the really weird stuff we don’t mention in public…
But, back to the documentary. Enjoy it (or not) and if you want to join in the fun, and are not clinically insane, contact us through the URLs in the credits.