Gadget Man (2012) s02e03 Episode Script

Child's Play

1 Hello.
My name's Richard Ayoade, or at least I think that's how it's pronounced.
I've always thought there's something moderately heroic about a gadget, an often small device dedicating itself to one specific purpose.
Making life that little bit easier.
So welcome to Gadget Man .
where I get to celebrate some of the world's best gadgets.
This is a new experience!Yeah.
You've not barbecued until you're seasick! And introduce you to the most amazing and bizarre technology from around the world.
What the? I'll also be trying to invent whole new gadgets to solve some of life's everyday problems.
So, before ado is in any way furthered, let's tool up and get down to business.
As all parents know, keeping children entertained is no picnic.
Despite picnics actually being quite a good way of entertaining them.
The everyday reality of childcare is the long, hard grind that can often end in tears and tantrums.
And that's just the children! Or the parents.
I don't really know how that kind of joke works.
As Channel 4's official personification of a gadget, it's my pleasure, but it's also very much my duty to suggest that perhaps gadgets might be able to take up the slack of this pesky parenting business.
Parenting is exhausting.
I prefer gadgeting.
This Playmat T-shirt means you always get a massage while the kids amuse themselves.
The Daddle is a saddle for a dad! If your kids are harder to impress, then show them this.
A machine that uses helium and foam to make floating shapes.
There are super gadgets for older kids, assuming they've been financially prudent.
And even super gadgets for babies.
This is spring-loaded, so before it hits the ground it will close and protect the teat.
Look at that.
The dirt is just on the outside.
Happy? Happy.
There's a massive raft of gadgets I'll be showing you that can make parenting less of a chore.
But I'm also determined to invent a contraption of my own that will take the strain out of the whole tooting thing.
Now, like an absolute plum, I've agreed to look after a bunch of children next week, and I'll do that, I'll honour that promise.
But surely there must be a way of doing this without directly interacting with these small people.
I wish to build a playground where parents don't have to push swings or twirl roundabouts.
This concept of hands-off childminding has been around for years.
And while devices like this robot stroller somehow never took off, maybe I can take inspiration from a modern-day equivalent.
Look at me! You know what you see This is a bike and stroller in one.
The handling of this is fine.
But in You don't want to go too fast.
It can convert from this into a stroller.
OK, so this comes out.
The baby is very calm at this point.
Take the seat down, like that.
This comes over the top.
You pick up the child, who has remained calm throughout this procedure.
Look at that.
I can just move this buggy off.
And then later on I could put it back into a bike.
Look at the faces of envy as I pass them.
Look, watch.
Watch this.
Yeah, that's right.
That scowl is correct.
It was a bike, you missed the best bit earlier.
It was a bike.
All that folding is too much darn effort for my liking.
So I've asked three real humans to try out some other parent-friendly prams.
And this self-folding stroller romped to victory.
From a sort of gadgety point of view, that is crazy.
This panel on the back is quite good, because if you're a bit of a fitness freak, then it can tell you how fast you're walking and stuff.
And also, of course, it does go up and down.
That's just fun all day.
Look at that! That's a pleasure.
Now, I think this is the key to the success of my playground.
It needs to be fully automated.
I need to be able to do no work, apart from occasionally press a button.
Building a playground that looks after children itself sounds like a job for my engineering friend and wrestling companion, Garry.
Garry, how do you automate a playground in the middle of a field? Well, you've got the power right there, haven't you? What's the power? It's the kids! Are they going to bring generators? What we'll do is make a roundabout, they put the energy into it by whizzing the roundabout round, like a generator.
How am I going to keep these fellas on the roundabout? Cos I need to keep them occupied.
You mean you need to incentivise? I need to motivate.
Get them motivated?Treats, I've found, work.
Do they, yeah? Mice and children both love treats.
Well, if we get a load of hamster balls, for instance, put the treats inside that, we can make those hamster balls move around and the kids have to follow it.
And it becomes an entertainment AND a treat! It's like the Krypton Factor, they'll be hunting for sustenance.
For ever.
Yeah, for ever, I don't know about for ever, but it's a nice idea.
Give me half an hour.
That's what I need.
It's about you, as much as about them? This is mainly about me, I'm afraid to say.
Let's give it a try.
OK, we'll do it.
Don't sign anything, because I want to take credit.
I'm heading to the Patent Office now to register it in my name.
All right! While Garry and his employee start making an automated playground inspired by my findings so far, I'm going to research more hands-off parenting gadgets with a stunt baby called Monroe and the non-stunt mum they call Denise van Outen.
Oh, look! Do you feel like you're flying? Do you feel slightly like you're sky-diving, in a way that is pleasing? Do you know what, I actually want one, for me.
What do we think, Monroe? Do you like it? Monroe approves.
But before long, she'll probably start crying, like the baby she is.
Look at this.
It's called WhyCry.
Put it near to the baby and it tells you the reason why it's crying.
Really?Bored, annoyed, hungry, stressed, or sleepy.
Those are the five reasons.
Right, OK.
It claims to be 90% accurate.
SHE CRIES It's going with "hungry".
SHE LAUGHS I am, actually! But what about that stressful period when bath, tiredness and bedtime combine in a perfect storm? Here are some Smart Pyjamas.
A variety of different dotted configurations which, when on, you scan with your phone and it comes up with a story that you can read.
These PJs contain 47 different tales.
Your kids can even scan themselves and the app would read the story out automatically.
The tortoise and the hare.
I'm guessing the idea of this is that if you're travelling and you don't want to take books or anything with you, thenYes.
it kind of saves space.
Next, a gadget to rock your child to sleep, so you don't have to.
There are various types of rocking motion it can make.
Tree Swing, Kangaroo, Car Ride.
I'd like to try the car motion.
Because when I struggle to get my daughter Betsy to sleep You make her drive.
I always used to put her in her car seat and go for a drive.
I think a winner with Monroe.
Kangaroo, I can't imagine is a sensation that many babies feel, normally.
Ooh!Oh, hello.
What's going on there? The kangaroo's obviously encountered some difficulties and is negotiating brush.
I definitely would buy this for my baby.
I think it's a really good idea.
It seems particularly comfortable, safe, and look - Monroe's seal of approval.
Big thumbs up.
OK, so we'll place Monroe down.
Down you go.
There we go.
It's bedtime! Sleepy time! OK.
Now, rocking the crib.
Oh, right.
We have something that is automated, called the Lullabub.
And what it does is it rocks the cot for you.
That you can use under any cot? You can use under any cot which has legs.
Look, you can see, there is movement.
There you go, it's slightly oscillating.
But it's this piece of futuristic French technology that gives us a glimpse into the Daft Punk era of childcare.
What on earth is that? Well, this is the Nao Robot.
It's a programmable robot that can assist you with parenting.
Costing around ten large, it uses cameras and a voice synthesiser to interact with children.
According to the UN, robots like these will soon be considered as essential as a family car.
I like your hair.
Thank you.
See?Just the one fan, then.
Think of it as a nanny that looks exactly like a robot.
I work with children all the time.
I love it.
Loves children.
Loves children.
I can help you send the baby to sleep.
Well, that would be incredibly useful, were the baby not already asleep.
But proceed in what you were about to do.
I know some great lullabies and I am a great singer.
A little bit cocky, but I take that on board.
Why don't you sing a lullaby now? Here we go.
MUSIC PLAYS It's a bit like Queen.
The intros are too long.
Just get to the lullaby, don't build it up.
Don't build up.
Get Shh!Vocals.
Thank you.
Little baby, don't say a word Let's go.
Papa's going to buy you a mockingbird And if that mockingbird won't sing Papa's going to buy you a diamond ring A cot that rocks itself, a robot baby-sitter, these inspirational gadgets have given me some great ideas I can rip off for my automated playground.
Coming up, Hugh Dennis and I test out gadgets for older children Obviously, I'm in complete control.
And I test my gadget playground There's much more to this playground than meets your unbelieving, doubting eye.
'I've been furiously pondering the best way gadgets can make 'looking after children a doodly breeze.
'Indeed, my relentless engineering staff are building 'a prototype of an entirely automated playground which 'I hope will be good enough to keep a party of kids 'entertained later on.
'In the meantime, I'm off to test out some more gadgets for that 'implacable edifice that is known as Older Kids.
'And to help me, I'll need a TV dad.
'And that TV dad calls himself Hugh Dennis.
' Hi.
Obviously, I'm in complete control, but a few gadgets wouldn't go amiss.
Well, let's do this.
From paving slabs that reveal their hopscotch markings when wet to a game of Twister that connects to your MP3 player to remote-control fighting robots, there's a new generation of interactive gadgets to keep kids fully occupied.
But I'm most interested in testing this bijou barnstormer.
So this is going to be your friend today.
You just connect it in.
It's a kind of Wii device which is operated by your hands above it.
So this is a drum kit.
You can hit the snare drum.
You don't need to, you know, make it look as Hitler-ish as I'm currently looking at it.
No, that is the slightly dodgy bit, yeah.
But, you know You look like someone learning to swim, but really badly.
This is essentially how I direct traffic.
It uses cameras and infrared to detect your hand and finger movements.
And it's intricate enough to let your kids dissect a pretend frog.
But they'll probably mainly use it for drums.
They're quite a lot better at it than we were.
But let's not dwell on that.
But will you be satisfied with this level of noise? Would you want it louder than that? Much louder!Would you?Yes.
Much, much louder? Just want to annoy my parents.
Well, there's always great pleasure in that.
Next, one of the biggest tablet computers on earth.
It's a 27-inch display and runs on Windows 8.
Numerous players can all interact at the same time.
So we can play this air hockey game now, for example.
What I found, as a parent, well, you don't really want to buy things which are solely games.
To justify that purchase, you're thinking, "Oh, "maybe I can write something on this.
"It can work as a PC.
You can get multiple apps.
You can do a number of things with it.
My competitive spirit has taken over again and I'm not really listening to you.
You're basically just focused on trying to humiliate me.
So here we have some things to keep the children quiet.
This is a helicopter that you control with your mind.
What, THAT'S a helicopter? It works via Bluetooth through an app on a phone and it measures voltage fluctuations in your brain.
So I put this thing on?Yes.
Like that.
So I have to concentrate? Yeah.
You can already see you're in the zone.
Wow! You're straight in there.
'When you have a clear, relaxed mind like Hugh Dennis, 'your brain creates alpha waves.
'The app detects them and makes the helicopter fly.
' If I don't concentrate, this is justYeah.
Oh, there we go.
I'm going to concentrate again.
So it forces your children to concentrate.
Back it off! Back it off! Thank you.
I'm going to look over here.
There we go.
There we go.
Your brain is undeniable.
It is undeniable.
I'm going to leave it there.
Let's call in the kids.
So, essentially, you can draw on the bed and that floats with the aid of your mind.
See you later.
Don't panic! I'm not sanctioning scribbling on bedclothes.
These duvets come with a set of washable pens.
Obviously, we all use surveillance on our kids to check up on them.
That's a given.
Now, this is the latest way to do it.
It's a Spy Tank.
You've got a camera there.
Using an iPad or a smartphone, you can use it as a remote control and it will drive itself anywhere you want and can record what they're doing.
So let's see whether they're letting us down.
That's the great thing about the Spy Tank.
No-one will know that you have a small white tank in their room, filming them.
It's for a parent who's utterly lost trust in their children.
Or a parent who can't be bothered to go to the door of their children's room and just have a look.
Making them realise that they will always be watched throughout their lives and they need to start getting used to it now.
'With the kids fully engaged, 'us adults can turn our attention to relaxing.
' Well, that's not relaxing.
They're happy, though, up there.
It's worked to that extent.
Yeah, but I can still hear them, so let's remedy that with this.
CLASSICAL MUSIC 'These are some of the biggest 'and thinnest domestic speakers money can buy.
'Designed by a British aeronautical engineer, 'they provide exceptional clarity.
' Done!Yeah.
'This is my ideal energy level for the playground.
'I wish to expend no more energy than this.
'That much-anticipated day has now arrived.
' All right? 'I'm going to be supervising 20 children without expending 'any energy.
' Behold the Gadget Man automated playground! It has normal playground-type things - a swing that you might find in a regular playground, a rocking horse made out of wood, traditional materials.
There's also a roundabout which is almost eerie in its roundaboutyness - look at that - as it goes about its roundabout business.
But there is much more to this playground than meets your unbelieving, doubting eye.
The traditional playground demands incessant parental pushing, twirling and spinning.
'But the idea here is to harness 'and redirect the limitless energy of the little nippers themselves.
'All I need do is relax as the playground operates on 'top-generated power alone.
'Here's a shot of them running.
' As they turn the roundabout, an alternator turns the motion into electricity, charging batteries which can power all the other gadgets in the playground.
Only one small inducement is required.
These children can only keep up this level of energy for so long.
Some of them are already starting to flag.
They're going to need motivation, they're going to need treats.
That's what I asked Gary for.
That's what he's provided with the Archimedes Screw.
The balls are packed full of sweets.
As the roundabout spins, it charges batteries that turn the screw which, in turn, delivers the goodies to the young folk.
Suitably sugared, they then have even more energy to push the roundabout and keep things working.
It's almost dangerously ethical.
We just keep loading them up.
I do not want to have to engage with them.
Well, this is ideal.
The automated playground has taken care of 20 children and I'm not having to do anything.
'And to further aid my loafing, I've siphoned off some 'of the electricity generated by the kids to power my music system.
' CLASSICAL MUSIC 'If I need to power more devices, 'I can simply increase the power from these unwitting dynamos.
' The kids have rightly hailed the playground a triumph, but I'm keen to hear the opinions of their legal guardians, responsible adults in need of a rest.
What do you think? Would you leave a child under such circumstances? Definitely! As long as I can have a bench to sit on, have a coffee, look on from afar.
I could send an e-mail without being interrupted to push them on the swings.
It's great! What's not to like? You're not going to be interrupted with, "Dad, dad! Can you push me?" every two minutes.
Essentially, you're cock-a-hoop by I'm going to be obsolete now! OK.
This is good.
So we're standing at the scene of a triumph is what we're standing at.
Not for the first time, I'm utterly vindicated and I can proceed to moonwalk around the entire perimeter.
And finally, my signature piece - a gadget that stops parents from being soaked.
This robot is a water-fighting robot which also has my face in it to give the seamless illusion that it is me because the musculature and the body is modelled on my own.
So I think the safest thing for us is to step back and let this robot battle the children.
It's just water.
It's just water.
Don't point at me! Back! Point Yeah.
The control system lets the robot take aim at any children foolhardy enough to approach.
While it IS waterproof, it could be vaguely frightening-looking which is why I've given it a very non-threatening face.
'I stay dry, the kids have fun and get some all-important face 'time with a cowardly-looking adult on top of the robot.
' I don't think it would be immodest to term that an unqualified success.
The parents seemed very happy, the children were even happier and I was delighted in that I did not have to expend a mere calorie of energy.
Now, of course, in the real world where I sometimes live, it's nice to be with your children, to play with them, to actually spend as much time as you can with them.
Maybe this could be a whole new era and human motion could be harnessed as an energy source for other uses.
There are already plans to use the vibrations of pedestrian footsteps to power streetlamps.
For now, though, my automated playground is the world leader in this kind of technology.
When you've been pushing the swing for about half an hour, something like this is a rather pleasant dream.
'Next time, I'll be finding out if gadgets can help reduce both 'the stress and sweat of going on holiday.
' See you down there.
Thanks, Mr Gadg-ey!
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