Michael Hutchison’s 1986 book, Mega Brain, popularised brain-machine technology – and RAW enthusiastically embraced the subject, writing about new developments in his Trajectories newsletter. Bob also sometimes covered neuro-nutritional issues, citing research and studies mentioned in Brain/Mind Bulletin (Marilyn Ferguson’s influential newsletter), for example.
You can find blurbs by RAW for some of the products and books from around that time – there’s one in Biocircuits (by Leslie & Terry Patten, 1988), which reads: “This book is the most exciting and stimulating work on holistic health that I have seen in many years”. The Pattens, incidentally, ran Tools for Exploration, which sold a range of brain machines, meditation aids, etc – I used to enjoy browsing through their informative illustrated catalogues (I bought one of their copper biocircuits partly because of RAW’s blurb in their book).
I still have an old ‘MasterMind’ light & sound machine and an Alpha Stim TENS device. (light & sound and TENS, or ‘Transcutaneous Electro-Neural Stimulator’, were two of the main technologies covered by Hutchison’s book). Later on, I also experimented with a lucid dream machine and Centerpointe’s “Holosync® Meditation Technology”, among other things (when my income allowed – ie not very often).
New brain machines / “biohack” latest
I thought it might be a good idea to include brain-machine updates in this blog, along with the latest from so-called “biohacking” research, and reviews of new books on the subject, etc. So here’s a start…
HAPBEE device – new mood-altering technology?
A new device that’s recently been prototyped (now in production – with estimated shipping in July 2020), is claimed to “replicate dozens of feelings” by “playing predictable electromagnetic fields”. Those who have tried the prototype – the device is being marketed as “Hapbee” – typically describe it with superlatives, suggesting it may be revolutionary, game-changing, etc. Here’s what the Hapbee crowdfunding page says:
“This unique product allows you to experience the feelings and sensations you desire almost instantly, without ingesting any harmful substance or chemical, while having the ability to return to your normal baseline state within a matter of minutes.”
“Hapbee uses groundbreaking patented electromagnetic frequency technology to deliver the desired feeling with just a few taps from your phone”.
It uses a proprietary oscillating magnetic field technology developed by Emulate Therapeutics (who are apparently investigating the effects of this technology in clinical contexts, such as the treatment of cancer). Assuming it works as advertised, the Hapbee does sound fairly ground-breaking. In Mega Brain, Michael Hutchison described a device called the ‘Graham Potentializer’, which also utilized a pulsating electromagnetic field, but that was a large machine that rotated while you lay on it. (The Hapbee, by contrast, is a small portable device that you can wear around your neck, or on your head).
UPDATE: I obtained and tested a Hapbee device and reviewed it at length here. I wasn’t impressed, unfortunately.
Bulletproof coffee & neurogenesis
Bulletproof coffee has been around for a while (its inventor, Dave Asprey, apparently first got the idea after being rejuvenated by a cup of yak butter tea in Tibet). It’s basically coffee with added butter and MCT oil, and then blended (emulsifying the fats seems an important step – there’s a guide on how to make it here).
Even though I love coffee, I’m not keen on the taste of Bulletproof coffee – but I still often drink it for breakfast (with nothing else) because I find the resulting buzz and the cognitive improvement (prolonged alertness/concentration) so remarkable. It also seems very effective as an aid to “intermittent fasting“.
(Incidentally, I don’t use the branded Bulletproof products – which are difficult to obtain, and expensive, in the UK – I use “standard” coffee beans, generic MCT oil and unsalted butter. I find that works fine).
I’m of an age (mid-50s+) in which concerns over cognitive decline begin to arise – particularly when you observe the often tragic consequences of conditions such as dementia in family members or friends. The topic of neurogenesis – the creation of new neurons – then becomes doubly relevant for those already interested in cognitive enhancement. For decades, scientists believed that neurogenesis ceases by adulthood – but that dogma has been challenged, and the concept of adult neurogenesis now seems widely accepted.
A few years ago, Professor Brant Cortright wrote a book, The Neurogenesis Diet & Lifestyle, which popularised the idea of a revolution in neurogenesis (which he says is how the brain “renews and upgrades itself”). He suggests lifestyle and diet changes that would increase the likelihood of neurogenesis in adults – including older adults. For example, he considers the nutritional “superstars” at stimulating neurogenesis to be: blueberries, omega-3 fatty acids, green tea and curcumin.
I approach these things with scepticism (especially when expensive products are sold – as with the Bulletproof range), but the evidence of my own experiments, in terms of how I feel and how I function, suggests (to me at least) something of significance and value here worth pursuing.
For those interested, here’s a video of Bulletproof’s Dave Asprey talking with Brant Cortright (author of The Neurogenesis Diet & Lifestyle).