Bipolar Binaural Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation

or how I learned to control humans with electricity

The effects of Galvanic Vestibular stimulation have been known for quite a while. But it was not until recent years that the phenomenon has picked up quite some interest in the scientific community and the public eye.

I read the papers, saw some videos from japanese researchers, and thought to myself… this can’t be that hard. And it wasn’t.

So I took a 9V battery, a pair of electrodes (the same I had made for my GSR-Lie Detector) stuck them to my Mastoid Processes (the conic bones that end behind the earlobes) and presto. In no time I was leaning to one side or the other as my vestibular system was affected by the galvanic current.BellonBBGVS-small.jpg

Once I was convinced it worked, I designed a circuit to be able to regulate the current (to about 2-3mAmps) and a 4 switching transistor system for easy polarity reversal.

I ended up with a box with left and right buttons and a dial for adjusting the current (via a 10KOhm Pot). Looks sort of like a nintendo controller. Perhaps in the future I will build the first video game console where you will be able to play Mario Bros. WITH your parents, instead of a tv screen.


Here is the schematic. To set the inputs to high you can just hook a couple switch buttons (like the ones I used) to the 9V battery. Pressing a button will set that input to high, and thus bias the corresponding transistors. Pressing the other button will reverse the polarity. The variable resistor is a potentiometer, a 10K worked fine for me.

WARNING! Applying electricity to your head is not a good idea. Don’t do it. You have to be nuts to even consider it.

So in essence, if the subject closes his eyes (or her eyes; I do not discriminate among my victims), the subject will lean towards one side or towards the other. If made to walk, this effectively makes the person go in a given direction under the control of the experimenter. As an added bonus, it has come to my attention, after several subjects mentioned it, that the application of the galvanic current generates a pleasurable sensation. Upon further research it seems that the current is stimulating pleasure centers in the nervous system. This of course is worth more investigation!

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40 Responses to “ Bipolar Binaural Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation ”

  1. Kind time of day… We have gone too on the same way, the truth we want also to stimulate the centers of pleasure, we shall be glad if ideas will be realized the address of a site on which we work, and if you do not mind that your circuit we too we shall publish.. Our site his(its) Russian-speaking address

  2. I’m not sure which is better, knowing that I can make friends sway left or right, or reading that amazing text translator output! I thought it was a poetic come-on from some electro-hippy maiden in a hareem of modern day Castle Anthrax styled pleasure seekers.

    Does this have a noticeable effect on people who’ve consumed a reasonable amount of alcohol? An experiment!

  3. Ryan,

    I share your observation and amusement wholeheartedly.

    As for the alcohol, I think we won’t run short of volunteers. But it may be difficult to assess the swaying effects.

  4. Hey, i was wondering if you could send me a more detailed schematic of the Bipolar Binaural Galvanic Vestibular Stimulator, im a little new at all of this.


  5. Colleagues! We here with group энтузистов did(made) something like a toy (more more in detail it here and for that what to parry some by-effects in the circuit have entered frequency Беты at first in a range about 30 Hz and have received effect of intoxication, at more thin adjustments it is really possible to see and certain objects, and even that that as fragments such as dreams… We now more try to study this effect more in detail, but very much he is individual

  6. I just StumbleUpon’d onto this page and thought that despite it’s limited relevancy it might be of interest. But now I see your friends may be reporting rather attractive results, and suddenly sleeping in modified earphones seems kinda lame.

    Are they saying that depending on the specific user, they feel intoxicated and may hallucinate? Are you holding out on me?? What could they be doing differently to your method that could yield these results? Have you managed to read their site?

  7. George, What do you mean more detailed? I will post another version of the schematic with the switches drawn in. Perhaps that’s what you meant.

    Mishibara, I can’t access your webpage entirely. When I click on the link you provide, it gives me a 404 error. From your text I think you have made the current pulsating (at 30Hz) instead of DC (or Galvanic). I’ll dig out the appropriate papers to see what other researchers have done around this.

    Ryan, I haven’t managed to read the russian pages, and I can only access a few links. Also, I will investigate if there is any research in this area. The only similar research I remember has been done by Dr. Michael Persinger from the University of Toronto. But his experiments involve pulsating EM fields on the temporal lobes. This is very different from stimulating the vestibular system with electricity. In the case of Persinger, he is able to replicatem in 80% of his subjects, mystical experiences during sleep. (Anything from nightmares, alien abductions, entity or angelical visitations, etc.)

    Regarding Binaural Beats, the evidence is controversial. This is basically just giving each ear similar audio tone where one side differs by a few Hz from the other. Apparently the brain will synch its brainwaves to the beat frequency (difference between the two tones).  So if you output a 400 Hz tone to the left ear and a 416Hz to the right ear, the brain would synch to 16 Hz. This phenomenon seems to ocurr but the side effects of this synchronization are unknown.

  8. Kind time of day!!! Strange, but a site of a site open for all users, the truth he in Russian. (resulted on same page) we have inserted a microcircuit of the stamp into your circuit such as ICL8038, for reception of frequencies in a range from 10 up to 50 hertz.. The Purpose: elimination of by-effects dryness in a mouth and so on, and desire according to the theory … to stimulate creative potential … As sites of a brain responsible(crucial) for memory lay about electrodes, we also have learned(have found out), that it is possible to construct wave soliton (on two entrance points!!) responsible(crucial) for maintenance of emotions … here that we also have come across the interesting phenomena … most likely at thin adjustment we have touched variants of initialization of memory … it is possible even to say in the program way, that in our opinion has the big prospects to practical use …

  9. Hello! It is weird but the part of the Web site avaliable for all users is in Russian. In your scheme (below on this page) we implanted ICL8038 chip in order to receive frequency that lies in the range from 10 to 50 Hertz. The purpose is to eliminate side-effects such as dry mouth and so on, and the desire according to the theory… stimulate creative potential.
    Because the parts of the brain responsible for the memory are located around electrodes, we also assumed that a wave soliton responsible for maintaining emotion could be built (on two entrance points). Here we came across curious effects… Most likely, at accurate adjustment we touched versions of memory initialization… you even tell by programming way, which, in our opinion, means that it has a lot of potential of practical application

  10. call me a cynic but this looks like bullshit to me
    as soon as you start swapping words like electrical with ‘galavantic’ to make it more dificult to understand, your scientific credibility goes out the window.
    (examples such as potentiometer? from my knowledge the only thing that you could call a potentiometer is a volt meter, and thats no resistor)
    i do happen to know a bit about neurology, and i know that experiments like this (radio controlled cockroach ect) rely on very simple nerve systems, and would not work in a human, unless you did a detailed examinaition of the incredibly complex
    nerve structure.

  11. Hello Hmm,

    Skepticism can be healthy, and I understand why you are. Let me try to clarify some of your doubts.

    The word Galvanic was not just randomly swapped, nor was it used with the intent to be difficult to understand. In fact the word has a very precise meaning that is important for the accurate description of the phenomenon at hand. An electric current is said to be Galvanic when it comes from a Direct Current (DC) source or a battery. The term was the old way for referring to DC, but since many of the original biological experiments used this term, it is common practice to use it to differentiate from an alternating current or AC.

    If you look at the scientific papers cited below you will see the term Galvanic being used in all of them.

    You are correct in your estimation that a potentiometer would be a voltmeter. After all, voltage is a difference in electrical potential. The old way a voltage or potential was measured was by the use of: a known voltage, a voltage divider and— coincidentally—a Galvanometer (DC Voltmeter).

    Because of this, in modern parlance, the term potentiometer is used to describe a device that acts like a voltage divider. This is a very common device which can be found at your local RadioShack© (or other electronic components store). Here are some introductory electronics texts that may be helpful:

    Potentiometer as a voltage divider:
    Beginners guide to POTs:

    Basically it is just a variable resistor with a center tap and a knob. Commonly known as a POT.

    Finally, regarding the neurological comments, there are indeed some experiments in controlling small insects. Most of them do not even tap into the insect’s nervous system. Instead, they alter some elements of the insect’s external perceptual appendages to steer it in one direction or another.

    In the case of humans, since the middle of the last century, there have been experiments where a small Galvanic current was applied to the mastoid process bones (just below the ear) and it was noticed that the volunteer would lean towards one side or the other depending on the polarity of the current. This has been attributed to the stimulation of the vestibular system.

    The vestubular system is the group of tiny hair-like structures that exist submerged in a fluid inside the inner ear or vestibulum. These hairs are responsible for our sense of balance. As we tilt our head in one direction, the vestiblular system picks up this change due to the way the hairs sway inside.

    By applying the Galvanic current, the vestibular system is affected so that it sends the signal for being off balance, and thus our brain compensates by making us sway one way or the other.

    It is not clear yet whether the Bipolar Galvanic Stimulation of the Vestibular System affects the vestibulum itself or if it affects the signal sent to the brain.

    Here are some links to Galvanic Vestibular Stimulation information:

    I hope this helps restore the scientific credibility I may have lost in your perception.

  12. I have a quick question for you, The transistors mentioned in the artical, are they NPN or PNP? (possible both? 2x PNP and 2x NPN?)

  13. ODB,

    All the transistors are NPN.

    In a transistor schematic symbol, when the arrow is pointing outwards it is NPN, when it points inwards it is PNP.

  14. Great device! I have built one, but I can’t seem to get anyone to wear it, especially on a first date. Are there any simple adaptations that I could make to this device to record and play back a person’s thoughts?

  15. Wade Smith,

    Your failure to get anyone to wear it on the first date cannot be attributed to the device. First stop wearing that Cologne. If that doesn’t work I suggest you take the infamous dating course from Dr. Bob K. I am sure he will set you straight.

    And as far as recording a person’s thoughts, I recommend a pen and a paper pad.

  16. Ummm,

    Yes it is. And it serves the same function: reversing the polarity of the Galvanic Current.

  17. Kids, don’t expect to be driving Mom and Dad around like an R/C car.

    Though I do have my doubts about your scientific methods, the case is pretty cool anyway. How did you get the text on there? I especially like the “Caution” sticker… that gave me a good chuckle.

  18. You scienific types are all the same. You allways want to replace stuff that people can do just fine themselfs. Well, let me tell you mister. I get all the binaural vestibular stimulation i need from my wife. Maybe you neeed to get a woman too.

  19. sicko.

  20. Ummm,

    Thank you for your comments :)

    The text is simply designed, printed and laminated with a plastic sheet. Then just glued on top.

    Caution labels are always good.

    Mr. Smurf,

    While the reason for your anger is not sufficiently clear, and your stereotyping not sufficiently clever, I see what you mean… to some degree.

    Replacement and enhancement, it’s part of the world domination plan.

    Also, I am confused about your wife providing binaural vestibular stimulation, do you mean that she makes you sway one way or the other?

    Thank you for your comments, all of them.

    P.S. I have plenty of women. They are all contained inside tempered glass jars in the lab.

  21. Kind time of day, the intermediate result is received… “Operator-player” working with the laboratory device, receives “pseudo” sensations of movement in game space (carrying out actions, on management of game object, simultaneously there is a clarification of behavioural model of management by movement from superfluous “noise”). The directed stimulation of the central nervous system on development of creative potential is spent, and at the same time there is a stimulation of immune system for struggle against parasites of an organism, the vegetative system receives powerful means for regeneration of an organism.

  22. Journal of Physiology has published an article in 2003 on this,

    NTT also has hooked something like this upto a remote control, although reading some of the responses here, it seems that some people dont fully understand what this does. It affects balance, it does not give you the ability to just control people mad scientist style and build an army to take over the world. By affecting balance you can add more realism to games, help people with a balance deficiency regain balance (using accelerometers or gyros for example and when they start to lean you apply a counter signal), etc. NTTs project is the ‘parasitic human’ one application they cite is having sensors that detect approaching vehicles behind you and guiding you off the road as they approach.

    However looking at your schematic and the H-bridge, I am thinking that H-bridge may be slightly better with the addition of the 4 diodes. Without those diodes it would seem that 2 of the 4 transistors would have a more difficult problem passing current unless all of them were on.

    While it may work as it is, I am thinking it may work better with those.

    Also did you use fast, medium or what switching speed for the transistors? Given the application it probably does not matter all that much, but something like the ever present 2n2222 for example. My guess is it would work, and who doesnt have 4 of those laying around? :)

    I answered your security question ‘what color is the sky’ correctly, for my location, given todays weather, and it was rejected, perhaps you should come up with something a little less specific :P

  23. Bret,

    Excellent comments all around. It seems that indeed people are misinterpreting the workings of the device.

    I think you are right about the diodes, something to try. And yes a 2n2222 should work fine for this type of application, all we are after is reversal of polarity.

    I am trying a new spam counter measure which does not depend on answering irrelevant weather-dependant questions to the poster.

  24. Hi,
    I tried this on me and my friends. It works like anything. But the only thing bad about this is that we feel only clockwise and anticlockwise rotation, we want more of it .. and for sure everything is working withing the safe limits.
    We also want to feel transition and rotation in all 3 axes.

    What can be the protocol for it.

    Very nice and simple implementation.


  25. ok… u might say no way this coudn’t ever work .. right..
    well by chance i heard of a certain someone who made a product that supposedly produced the correct sounds pulsating and so forth as well as producing the right electronic magnetic fields which did not only control the being but also allowed them to access the subconcious as well as use their inherent skills by somehow energising one’s atoms until e=mc 2 which allowed one to become light
    and be controlled through a group of satellites all this done with a microchip which was designed in china and implanted was atomic refining tuning where as a image was imprinted in the mind of a video camera circuit board, where as he was used to hack a string web of them, and the ruse was a pest alert machine that supposedly got rid of rats, cockroaches and imaginary pests which fx any animal smaller than the size of a cat .. yet i never seen any thing work on our mouse be careful what you buy cos it’s not really emitting what you think…

  26. After designing a High Voltage Galvantic Stimulator and getting it approved by the FDA, this project just scares me :) I did enough testing with my device on my arm to cause what I perceive to be residual nervous system phantom spasms. I also wrote the manual for my device and one of the many Contraindications, Precautions or Warnings clearly states, “Do not place the electrodes transcerebrally”. I was always amazed watching Dr. Ho on HSN placing the electrodes of his low cost muscle stimulator around someone’s neck, supposedly inducing a deep neck massage. Don’t involuntarily cease up your thorax! All precautions aside, very interesting effects and a cool project indeed. Let’s just hope they are temporary and everyone is not walking around in circles after long term exposure to this device, similar to that of the movie, The Jerk. Have you ever considered a higher voltage to break down the skin resistance easier? My device has a variable amplitude which can reach over 300V peak, but the average power is quite small due to narrow pulses, as required by the FDA.

  27. Bret, haha :)

  28. I see you mention the GSR-Lie Detector, but I’m not sure which electrodes those are.

    Is there a recommended duration for the stimulation?
    Also, whats the ideal range for the number of mA this GVS puts out? (I’ve seen .5ma-1ma in research papers, and didn’t see 3ma in documentation).

    What if we wanted to do this with a remote rather than tethered?

    What’s the benefit of going high voltage?
    Is it easier to do dry electrodes at a higher voltage, or is there more risk?


  29. Hello, very nice circuit. Would it be nice to add a current limiting block to avoid dangerous accidents.
    I saw a guy on the arduino forum
    electrocuting himself because he didn’t care about regulating the current.

    What about an TL431 or an LM134/LM334 in current limiting configuration?
    I’m not a great electronic expert, so I may just bullshitting:
    simple schematics


  30. In the late 1990′s we developed and marketed a system for video gaming that we called MotionWare while with Virtual Motion out of Pittsburgh, PA.

    Our system was portable, battery powered and bi-axial ( 2 dimensional ). It included an API for video games use and worked extremely well with both iMax theater and HMD use.

    We worked with Sega, Sony, Microsoft and others to try and commercialize this exciting product but everyone was afraid to go first.

    I have run the system on over 1000 people at a dozen different conferences and in other countries and nearly every user could feel and be manipulated with the effect.

    In the very first demonstration models the amplifier was remotely controlled and battery powered and worked with a portable HMD.

    Lots of fun!


  31. Another idea, would be to add a couple of bjt to be able to use a logic signal for example a 3.3V TTL control from an xbee!

  32. Paolo, sure you could add current limiting resistors.

    Bill, that’s very interesting, any documentation or video online?

    Paolo, yeah that is a very good idea, although XBee is probably overkill for such an application. A simple (and cheaper) RF unit would work. But for any of this you would need to turn it into a microprocessor project (not difficult at all, may try it some time).

  33. Hello Alain,
    I just realised one of our student did a wireless electrical stimulator with some interesting features.
    I’m adapting it for the GVS. Yes the Xbee is an overkill true, infact the guy used a CC1101 and an MSP430 to provide the control signal. I will probably go for a Jeenode which I already have :-) .

  34. sir alain bellon,

    i am trying to build your GVS device, but it seems that i can’t decide what specs to buy for the npn transistor…

    can i know the name of transistor you use in this device?

    i tested the concept just using a 9volt battery and some 9 1k resistors in series, and i got a 1mA reading on the multimeter… hehe…

    i put the copper wire in contact with my skin on my mastoids, instead of having a sway, it stings me… hehe…

    maybe its the electrode problem… hehe… i dont have it… i hope you can help me with that too…

    i am planning to use the concept for my thesis in hardware…

    Now my classmates are all laughing at me and teasing me, saying that it is impossible for me build such device.

    i hope you can help me…

  35. Steve,

    A simple 2N2222 transistor or a compatible model will work.

    Before you actually start the project please do an extensive search for all material you can find on Galvanic Binaural Vestibular Stimulation and also on safety measures for electro stilmulation. Always make sure you only use a battery and that your output current is very low (few miliamps). Never apply an electrodes such that a circuit can be completed across the heart.

    The electrodes need to have sufficient area to distribute the current evenly on the skin, otherwise you get a sting. (even with good electrodes you may still get a tiny sting)

  36. I have some docs around but most in dead tree form.

    Look for United States Patent 5762612

    Here’s an old article on us:

    We presented at SigGraph in 2000 IIRC and about 20 conferences and tradeshows from 1997 through 2000 when we switched focus.

  37. And we found that the maximum current tolerable was under 7 ma but due to resistance we often needed up to 40v to create the current.

    Both the bipolar switching power supply and isolated current sources were current limited to less than 6ma and could not under any failure mode short of actually adding wires produce more than that.

    There was a great deal of engineering that went into the units we used once we were out of the prototype phase were we used 4 9v batteries in series.

    Be careful, use conductive gel, conductive rubber electrodes, an isolated current controlled source NOT voltage controlled since sweat, motion and pressure dramatically effect resistance.

  38. Yes Bill is correct, what I’m developing now is a stimulator with boost DC -DC voltage controlled with current feedback.
    If you use voltage you really need to be careful.
    I wrote a small tutorial here with a wireless GVS controller.

  39. Mr Alain, can you please further explain about the electrode that you have used?i have been reading this article about using a gel electrode. However, i am having difficulties to find those electrodes.Is there any other option where can i get the electrodes?or maybe is it possible if i can make it myself.your help would be very helpful indeed.

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