galvanic vestibular stimulation

“Galvanic vestibular stimulation is the process of sending specific electric messages to a nerve in the ear that maintains balance. Not much is known about this phenomenon, but more scientists are continuing to research the topic…”

Luis Rodil-Fernández used the GVS technique in his graduation project BRAID.

BRAID is composed of two devices that can produce GVS stimulation on the wearer. The devices are networked wirelessly using an XBee module and they gather positional data from the wearer’s spine via an accelerometer positioned on top of their heads. When one of the wearers leans out of balance, her device detects this and sends a proportional stimulus to the wearer of the paired device, so it is the other person that feels it.


Schrikdraad participated in this project by first designing a custom Arduino shield. This shield contains the analog electronics necessary for the galvanic vestibular stimulation. The initial purpose of this shield was to release it as a DIY kit for people to build themselves during workshops. The PCB is equipped with through hole components, which makes the soldering easy during hands-on workshops.

As a follow up, Schrikdraad designed a single board GVS unit. The single board solution is intended to be embedded in (or part of) a garment or piece of jewelery. This new design still contains an Arduino, but it is now embedded in the analog circuitry, instead of being part of a board sandwich.

More information regarding this project can be found here.