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Robert Austin


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In the year 1986, a book entitled Megabrain: New Tools and Techniques for Brain Growth and Mind Expansion was published. The author was journalist Michael Hutchison, and it sparked a mini-revolution. Hutchison assembled into a single tome a wide and varied range of technologies, all intended to boost intelligence and otherwise enhance consciousness. In so doing he created a viral meme, which spread well into the 1990s, during which time he authored the followup book Megabrain Power and a series of journal-like Megabrain Reports. He also co-authored an audio series and a marketing company with his then-wife Kelly Howell, and co-founded the Neurotechnology Research Institute in San Francisco.

By the early 1990s, new light and sound companies had practically become a cottage industry, giving rise to such products as the MC2, Inner Quest, IM1, PR-2, and perhaps dozens of others, with sometimes incomprehensible names. Eventually the audio-meditation company Zygon, well known at the time for their in 20 minutes you'll be meditating like a Zen monk adverts in Omni and practically everywhere else, released their Supermind, then the Learning Machine, for which they ordered full page ads in USA Today. Light and sound had become mainstream, at least for a time.

The story of what happened to the light and sound 'industry' will be told on another occasion, but this is Michael's story.

I first met him in ca. 1990, during a visit to the Neurotechnology Research Institute in San Francisco, and I've had the pleasure of a long string of conversations over the subsequent half decade. Then, he and his wife Kelley Howell divorced, and she moved to another state with their son. Michael followed, and then it happened: he fell down a rocky chasm, and found himself quadriplegic: paralyzed. Through strength of will and determination, he managed to recover much physical function, earning him the label with his care-givers as the 'miracle man.' He's since written a book about his experience, which we sincerely hope finds a publisher, in a publishing environment very altered from the 1990s. He's also recently signed up for Facebook, and that's how we've recently re-established out friendship. Welcome back, Mike, and I hope you decide to apply your formidable journalistic skills to an update to Megabrain! Namaste.

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  1. MarkT's Avatar
    Thanks for posting this Robert. I need to read Megabrain, as I'm sure it will fill in many of the gaps I have in my general AVS / brainwave knowledge. Take care.

    Mark Turney
    (Visual Segment Developer creator)