i-SATA: A MATLAB based toolbox to estimate current density generated by transcranial direct current stimulation in an individual brain

Rajan Kashyap, Sagarika Bhattacharjee, Ramaswamy Arumugam, Kenichi Oishi, John E. Desmond, S. H.Annabel Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective. Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) is a technique where a weak current is passed through the electrodes placed on the scalp. The distribution of the electric current induced in the brain due to tDCS is provided by simulation toolbox like Realistic volumetric Approach based Simulator for Transcranial electric stimulation (ROAST). However, the procedure to estimate the total current density induced at the target and the intermediary region of the cortex is complex. The Systematic-Approach-for-tDCS-Analysis (SATA) was developed to overcome this problem. However, SATA is limited to standardized (MNI152) headspace only. Here we develop individual-SATA (i-SATA) to extend it to individual head. Approach. T1-weighted images of 15 subjects were taken from two Magnetic Resonance Imaging scanners of different strengths. Across the subjects, the montages were simulated in ROAST. i-SATA converts the ROAST output to Talairach space. The x, y and z coordinates of the anterior commissure (AC), posterior commissure (PC), and Mid-Sagittal (MS) points are necessary for the conversion. AC and PC are detected using the acpcdetect toolbox. We developed a method to determine the MS in the image and cross-verified its location manually using BrainSight®. Main results. Determination of points with i-SATA is fast and accurate. The i-SATA provided estimates of the current-density induced across an individual’s cortical lobes and gyri as tested on images from two different scanners. Significance. Researchers can use i-SATA for customizing tDCS-montages. With i-SATA it is also easier to compute the inter-individual variation in current-density across the target and intermediary regions of the brain. The software is publicly available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number056034
JournalJournal of neural engineering
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2020


  • Current density
  • Individualized tDCS
  • Inter-individual difference
  • Realistic volumetric approach-based simulator for transcranial electric stimulation (ROAST)
  • Systematic approach for tDCS analysis (SATA)
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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