Mind Boggling




PNG Beard


Mind boggled Lord Dawdle here fresh from a rather dramatic bid to boost the old brainwaves.

When I heard that boffins in America had come up with a gadget that can actually hear voices in your head – a light bulb went on.

Apparently the device can listen to questions you ask without actually speaking, pass them on to a computer and reply silently.

Hidden in a snazzy looking headset, AlterEgo hears your inner voice via electrodes attached to the skin of your jaw and chin.

It then replies using a bone conduction speaker without the need for earphones. The whole conversation takes place in your brain.

‘Brilliant!’ I thought. Settling back in my favourite leather Library armchair I let the enormity of what I had just read slowly percolate.

Light began to shine through the old grey matter. Eventually, there in the full glare of the head lamps, so to speak, was the annual village quiz!

This hotly contested event in aid of the church steeple fund would be the perfect venue to try out such a wonderful piece of high technology.

Unfortunately the device is still being perfected by the team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab and not up for grabs.

As always I relish a challenge and set about creating my own version. After all, the idea seemed simple enough. All that was needed was a little common sense.

Locking myself away in the garage I set about assembling the necessary equipment. First and foremost was the need for a first class lubricant to grease the mental cogs.

After much contemplation I chose a particularly smooth merlot, which proved more than equal to the challenge. Next came some stick-on medical electrodes with wires.

Followed swiftly, thanks to the internet, by a bone conduction speaker, a bluetooth remote transmitter and receiver and some free voice recognition software.

Putting it all together proved a little more problematic but, with the quiz looming large on the horizon, I felt sure any glitches could be ironed out before or, at a pinch, even on the big night itself.

Aware that some of my fellow contestants might not share my experimental zeal and the device might lead to a certain amount of jealousy, I thought it better not to advertise its presence.  Luckily I was able to avoid any unpleasantness by tucking the whole thing underneath a bushy false beard.

However, the need for the lap-top to be close at hand was more troublesome as it required the services of Whimsy the dog. The idea was that he would sit quietly at my feet with the portable concealed in a one of the pouches of his padded body warmer adorned with the Dawdle Hall crest and used for those chillier winter romps.

Being the local squire I was expected to take the helm as far as my team was concerned and indeed I fully expected to shine thanks to my secret weapon. Although the sudden appearance of the beard raised a few eyebrows, the prospect of the battle of wits ahead proved more of a distraction.

All went well until a particularly tricky geography question mean’t all eyes turned to me. They were a little puzzled when my jaw moved up and down as I silently mouthed: “What is the political capital of the Ivory Coast?” to make sure the device got the message. Just when I had given up hope the bone conduction speaker crackled into life with the answer: “slurp, slurp……crunch, crunch…. woof! woof!”

Bored and too hot in his winter warmer, Whimsy had wandered outside, shaken loose the laptop and started chewing one of the corners. Somewhere along the line the on board microphone had been activated and I found myself plugged into Encyclopeadia Houndica. Fortunately the slack jaw look, coupled with the sweat pouring off my brow thanks to the beard, convinced my team I was suffering from something serious and allowed me to escape into the oh so silent night to lick my wounds.