The non-invasive brain stimulation device that’s set to transform mental wellness

The brain is the most complex part of the human body. It has 86 billion neurons that allow people to feel, taste, smell, and see. It controls thoughts and memories, interprets emotions, and makes sense of the world around us. And, in cases of extreme emotions or pain, it can even disassociate from a situation as a protective mechanism.

This article originally appeared in the March/April issue of Startups Magazine. Click here to subscribe

However, as brilliant as the brain is, it’s not infallible because humas aren’t infallible, and over time we can be overwhelmed with feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. We can burn out.

“The potential for this technology is, essentially, to make people happy. That’s what we're working towards; whether it's stress, anxiety, or other mental wellbeing issues, we want to make people and those around them happy,” says Nickolai Vysokov, Neuroscientist, Founder, and CEO of BrainPatch – the startup company who are making safe, effective, and non-invasive neuro technology accessible to everyone.


With an extensive career in academia from both Imperial College London and Kings College London, and a PhD in Molecular Neurobiology from Imperial, Nickolai has always had an interest in the brain. But the first sparks of BrainPatch only began to form when Nickolai was speaking to a friend about joining Neuralink.

It was as he was sharing his thoughts and ideas on what he envisioned and how he could help people when his long-term friend, Dauren Toleukhanov, questioned: ‘could you do this yourself?’ Pondering on this fact, Nickolai realised that, yes, he could, but he was an academic, not an entrepreneur.

However, Dauren, was a serial entrepreneur and could see an enormous opportunity in brain-computer interfaces.

The pair began talking about the prospect of BrainPatch, and they were quick to realise they had something special, so they joined forces, and on March 22nd, 2018, the company was incorporated.

“Combining the excellence of academia together with the experience of entrepreneurship was a match made here on earth,” Nickolai smiles.

“We believe in the mass adoption of non-invasive neuro technologies in the near future … and we’re hoping to break through this market adoption barrier with our technology.”


The e-meditation device looks like a normal set of headphones. However, this patented neuro technology solution delivers a meditative, quickly calming, and stress-relieving state of mind by sending small, non-invasive electrical currents to the brain, via the skin behind the ear.

“That area behind the ear gives access to the cranial nerves including the vagus nerve, the vestibular nerve, and other nerves. And because of its position, we’ve turned it into a device that looks like a headset. It’s discreet, it’s wearable, and it’s got the electronic pads under it. When you wear it, it positions the electrodes in the right location and it also gives you some relaxing music to go with it, creating a very instant experience that a lot of people are comparing to meditation, so we’ve termed it ‘e-meditation.’ Since then, we’ve run studies which are showing that it helps create the feeling of relaxation, reduces stress and the risk of burnout.

“Burnout used to be taboo. But since the pandemic, mental health and wellbeing has become a hugely popular topic, so the technology has come at the right time, ready for explosive growth.”

The headset is controlled by a simple, user-friendly app which has a plethora of stimulation options to choose from. The wearer can select anything from meditation to movement manipulation. The stimulation itself is activated by a simple stop or play button, and the strength of the application is controlled by low, medium, or high settings.


From the initial stages of the company, Nickolai realised that there are a lot of non-invasive stimulation devices out there. These other brain stimulation devices use various tools to achieve a desired outcome, however, they aren’t effective on all people. That’s because our brains are all different.

So BrainPatch built a concept with universal efficacy in mind, and a potential to use artificial intelligent algorithms to better understand how to reach the next level of stimulation. Whereas the other devices on the market tell the brain what to do, BrainPatch is designed to listen and talk to the brain, meaning the stimulation is much more effective than that of its competitors.

“All it is doing is delivering a very small current across those electrodes and this creates an electric field inside the head. With our headset arrangement and electrodes behind the ears, the current doesn’t penetrate the skull, but it does affect the cranial nerves that are running between your brain and your body, and depending on the waveform, it can do different things. So essentially the technology is interacting with your cranial nerves through electric fields.”

Because of the waveforms built into the device, its primary target is focused on alleviating stress. However, people have reported that it has also helped them to sleep and reduced depression. The effects of the device, much like the effects of meditation, are temporary and they will eventually wear off, but BrainPatch advises that it should be used no more than twice a day.

Nickolai claims that the device “has saved his life so many times” when, as a founder of a startup, a husband, and a father, he has experienced burnout, which he attests “is not a pleasant experience.”


Nickolai joined the team at Startups Magazine to speak about the headset and to demonstrate how it worked before each of us, excitedly, took a turn using it. Digital drunkenness was the first stimulation requested to be tested by the team, and the giggles were forthcoming as we began to experience something akin to being on that drunken rollercoaster after a night out – there were a lot of faux-drunken wobbling heads in the office.

Interestingly, I had a headache and was reluctant to try the device, but BrainPatch have an app for that, and by placing the pads in a different position on my head, the effects of the pain lessened dramatically.

A couple of team members tried the e-meditation, and within two minutes they forgot about their surroundings and just enjoyed a few minutes of peace out of their busy schedules.

The laughter and gasps echoing throughout the office is a testament to the years of work and research that have gone into making BrainPatch an instant, mental wellbeing device that is accessible to everyone.


BrainPatch has just seven employees, most of whom are technical developers. However, Nickolai points out that now they are taking pre-orders for their e-meditation device, they are looking for funding to help expand their team and push their product further with a sales and marketing department behind them.


It is Nickolai’s belief that in the future this technology can be used in all areas of the brain. From meditation to better sleep and pain relief, but as with all things, it will take time.

“In terms of the application, there’s huge potential … but it also needs to be tried, tested, and optimised. So, it’s quite a journey towards getting there.”