Gadget Man (2012) s03e05 Episode Script


I have two names.
Richard, and another one that's of little concern to those outside my family.
I'd like to welcome you to a world filled almost entirely with the sweet smell of gadget.
I looked at gadgets to help with every aspect of my life and shield me from any kind of physical or mental exertion.
Good grief, get off me, you weird chair.
Which is just as well, because the subject of this broadcast is self improvement.
Can gadgets make me sharper? Smarter? Winnier? All I know is that I won.
Come join me, but stay where you are.
Don't try and enter the television screen.
That, as we both know by now, can only end in heartache.
How can you improve on perfection? Well, for the purposes of television, I'm going to pretend that I'm not flawless and that there are things about myself that could be slightly better.
But what is the bod who eschews self improvement manuals and websites to do? Turn gadget-wards.
Ever gadget-wards.
The old Rubik's Cube tested brains in the '70s and '80s.
Now, there's the Rubik's Futuro Cube.
A powerful processor and a three dimensional accelerometer sense movement and touch.
54 LEDs replace the coloured squares allowing the user to play 14 different pre-programmed games.
I'm merely pretending I can't do it very well, in order to appear relatable.
Khet is a board game endorsed by Mensa, where players use a low-energy laser to zap each others' pieces.
Like Kasparov, I'm pitting my wits against technology.
In my case, a robot arm from Maplin.
Modesty commands I let it win.
So I turn my dome to speed-reading.
And some brain-teasers should get my bonce ticking over.
I can check how hard it is working using the Emotiv EPOC headset.
The headset measures electrical signals produced by my brain, and shows them on my laptop and to my shame, the results are very poor.
Why this sudden urge to train my magnificent mind? Well, in a moment of hubris I agreed to take part in a pro-am memory contest against the world's best, and if I am truly honest, I'm grievously out of my depth.
I'm a simpleton.
My opponent is not.
Dominic O'Brien is an eight-time world memory champion.
As things stand, I'm going to be soundly shamed.
I'm doomed.
Unless Hi.
It's the big man.
I'm in a grievous jam.
I've entered a memory contest and I can't even remember why.
A rule-bending solution based round optic software and voice-generation does sound appropriate to this situation.
While my technical support staff scramble to create a gadget-based system to help me beat a world memory champion, I need to continue to work on what little sense I do possess.
Starting with my reactions.
And I'll be helped by a man who knows all about thinking on his feet.
Eamonn Holmes' relaxed demeanour belies the fact that he is a mental gladiator, his reactions honed by years of live television.
Look at him, springing out of that lift.
Eamonn's agreed to meet me at Mercedes World.
For the drivers who ply their trade here, quick reactions are essential.
So where better for Eamonn and I to sharpen our reflexes with some bespoke gadgetry? Don't answer that question, because here are some Optilights.
OK, Holmes.
This is a duel.
It may look like a bunch of IKEA lights and some traffic cones, but this is 3K's worth of kit.
OK, I'm going to boot it up.
'Eamonn is player B, whereas my street name is player A.
' OK, let's go down now.
The lights turn on in a random sequence and players must turn them off by moving their hands over motion-sensors inside them.
Do you feel this would help you in live broadcasting situations? Do you know? No.
Is that it? Too close to call.
How close was that? 71 to 72.
But it was enough.
I'm the winner, you're the loser.
A real mean streak comes out in you.
A pyrrhically close victory for British TV's longest serving breakfast anchorman.
Next, a less expensive test of reactions.
This is the Loopz Shifter.
Loopz with a Z.
An ever-more complicated sequence of lights and sounds prompt the player to put their hand between the titular Loopz breaking infra-red beams as they do so.
20 hits.
You rock! Thank you.
Ready? Ready.
Will all those hard years on the sofa pay off again? 23 hits.
23? 23.
If we were six years of age each, that would be fun.
Shall we adjourn? Bring on the next one.
This is OctoRhythm.
OctoRhythm is a 21st century reboot of Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Hand movements are translated to the screen by a LEAP motion controller.
I'm going to take you to the next level.
How do we do that? Via the Foc.
Us, y'all.
Really? The Foc.
This is transcranial, direct current stimulation.
Stop it.
I will not stop it.
This is going to jack you up even more.
So, it's connected to the tablet.
I'm going to press start.
Yes, I'm feeling it.
My nose is tingling.
'The Foc.
Us claims to help gamers sharpen their reactions' 'by passing an absolutely tiny current through' 'the pre-frontal cortex, a decision-making area of the brain.
' .
seem to be happening? Yeah.
Do you want to now engage the OctoRhythm with your increased powers? Let's engage with my transgender What's it? Trans I don't think there's any gender reassignment.
That's the word.
OK, I'm ready, I'm connected.
Get involved.
Repeat the symbols.
Go! The Foc.
Us website is bound by honour and law to state it offers no medical benefits.
But can mild electro stimulation improve Holmes' already leopard-like reactions? Paper.
Paper, rock.
The music's good.
Don't just let the groove overtake you, you've got to play the game.
OK, I'm now going to play it.
Without Foc.
Only 1,146? I feel that it didn't adequately recognise the shapes that I was making.
How do you feel? I don't know.
I'm just tingling.
Another way to improve mind and body is to learn a new skill, and guess what? There are gadgets to help you.
And here to test them are a panel of men and women expertly chosen by someone on work experience to represent all of Britain.
My public panel.
Instead of the guitar, what about the gTar with its amazingly different spelling? Dock your phone, open the inevitable app, and LEDs in the fretboard light up to tell you where to place your fingers.
Will it turn all Britain's retired people and city workers into musicians? I'm sensing that you feel positively about this? Well, I think so because I'm absolutely rubbish at trying to play any musical instrument.
I think it's rather fun.
So, essentially what I'll do is I'll leave you to command this Beethoven piece, and it feels improved by playing it one note every minute.
Neither our student or skilled manual worker has attained their Tae Kwon Do black belt, but now they have an app to compound their humiliation.
Freeze a motion-captured Grand Master, and move around him, Matrix-style, to help you perfect your moves.
That's so difficult.
It's so high.
See? There we go.
You're doing it now.
I think you should have a go.
I just daren't risk the suit.
What if you were more golfy than punchy-kicky? Then there's the Zepp sensor, which attaches to your hand and analyses your golf swing.
A smartphone app feeds the information back to you so you can get your golf game right tight.
Your top speed was 64mph, your hand speed, 25mph.
Any of these gadgets are a cause for cerebral celebration, but in the brutal arena of factutainment television, there's only room for one victor.
What do you like best? I like the guitar.
Guitar? Guitar.
Why the guitar? We think that you can sit with that and have fun and you can get a tune out of it, eventually.
I'm not going to challenge you.
Your assertion seems profound, complex and in total unison.
It is the gTar is the gadget that has triumphed.
The nation has spoken.
'Coming up, I enter the twilight zone with Richard E Grant.
' Always sniff first, I find, with a chair.
'And use gadgetry as I challenge' 'an eight-time world memory champion.
' I'm on a quest to discover if any of the plethora of self-improvement-related gadgets can help make me a better, brighter bod.
Direct current stimulation.
Stop it.
I will not stop it.
'My motivation, an impending memory showdown against 'eight-time world memory champion Dominic O'Brien, 'who normally walks faster than this.
' While my technical support staff works on a solution to help me avoid defeat, I'm going to see if I can use gadgets to improve my powers of concentration by pitting my whole head against one of the finest minds in show business, actor Richard E Grant, who's leaning on a rail near a wharf.
Thank you for attending.
We're going to fight, mentally.
Brain on brain.
Are you going to do this with adequacy? Absolutely.
The venue for this contest is an office shared by several tech start-up companies.
An appropriate and available venue for two challenges that will see us use technology to battle brain on brain.
But even mental athletes need to be relaxed in order to perform at peak so I have arranged suitable gadgetry to get us in the zone.
Always sniff first, I find, with a chair.
You never know what's happened to it.
It is a Sasaki Series 9 4D humanistic massage chair.
It's ?6,000 worth of maroon relaxation fun.
And there's this.
The PSiO Mind Booster.
So can I sit in it? You can, but you have to remove your shoes.
Let's see.
There we go.
Oh, my God.
Is that good? Yeah.
Is it starting? Little goblins are going all along the soles of my feet.
I do not associate with relaxation.
A combination of ten airbags, three rollers and six electric motors squeeze and pummel the sorry occupant to recreate the sensations of a human style massage.
Why don't you put in your PSiO Mind Booster? Coloured light is projected inside the glasses while soothing mantras quack into your ears.
She says, "the feeling of love is like the white light "made up of all colours.
" I think if you're being told about love by a visor .
you're perhaps in the wrong place.
The chair sort of squeezes you.
It massages you from all directions.
Sounds horrific.
I'm going to pull the ripcord on this.
You're getting too relaxed.
You might start to wilt.
Let's see what it can do with me.
A highly anxious person.
You have to take your shoes off.
'If possible, Richard now looks even more relaxed than ever.
'His mind calm, clear and ready for the battle ahead.
'Let's see if the chair has the same effect on me.
' Oh, good grief.
Oh, this is making me so tense I can barely look at you.
Are you always so curmudgeonly? Yeah.
It's all about my buttocks.
It's perilously close to my anus.
It's kneading my thighs.
All things that I view as no-go areas.
Put these on now.
All right.
And put the ear plugs in.
Oh, good grief.
Get off me, you weird chair.
She's going to speak to you very calmly.
I'm in control of my own feelings.
Isn't that the opposite of what a feeling should be? I thought you liked gadgets.
I don't like being handled.
The suspense is over.
The time for battle is now.
Well, let's stride manfully towards our destination.
The drone which I will control with the NeuroSky MindWave.
Go on.
As modelled by my head.
'The headset measures brainwaves and the strength of these waves 'controls the signal sent to the drone.
'If I concentrate hard enough, then lift-off will occur.
'In due course.
' We're not doing a photo-shoot for The Professionals, OK? I'm going to give it one more try, despite your dastardly attempts to distract me.
'The drone's flight should give us a clear idea 'of our powers of concentration.
' Bingo.
Right, I'm going to transfer the band to Grant.
'Can the lesser Richard match my X-Man-esque powers?' You think relaxing thoughts.
I think All right, Patrick Stewart, give me the band back.
'It's a draw.
We now move on to challenge number two 'which will see us go wheel to wheel, 'like a low-budget remake of Herbie Goes Bananas.
' Shall we engage in mental Scalextric? Yes.
First to five wins.
You look like you're already concentrating.
I'm there.
'The headbands measure our brainwaves.
' 'The data is transmitted by Bluetooth to a laptop,' 'and the more we concentrate, the faster our cars go.
' After one, two, three Oh, dear.
'Despite the lesser Richard's accident, 'his car soon retakes the lead.
' Four.
I think what you have is actually a very thin skull.
Which allows the electricity to escape ungoverned into the atmosphere.
It does.
Whereas my brainwaves are contained within my head, where I need them.
No, I do not accept that.
I think I was so focused on it I wasn't even counting.
All I know is that I won.
'This latest attempt at self improvement merely serves to confirm 'the folly of my entering a memory contest against a mental colossus.
' Fortunately for me, it looks as though my technical support staff have fashioned a solution in time's nick.
I'm about to find out if it works.
Dominic O'Brien is an eight-time world memory champion and holds a world record for remembering a sequence of more than 2,800 playing cards.
'Wembley Stadium had a last minute double booking, 'so our battle will take place in London's Spitalfields Market.
' Dominic.
Let's commence this mental Hunger Games.
'D-Dog and I have been given a deck of 50 cards with 'a three-letter word on each.
'We will have just three minutes to memorise all 50 in sequence.
'Then a member of the public will cut the deck of cards 'to reveal one word at random.
'We must then remember the next five words in the right order.
' Is there anything you wish you couldn't remember? Like images you've seen that you wish you could erase? You know sometimes if you go into a train toilet? You know what I'm talking about.
You're trying to put me off, aren't you? Sometimes there are things in there that are best unseen.
'Dominic uses mental images to help him remember 'but my approach is more hi tech.
'And, as gadgets have roundly failed to improve my own mental performance, 'I shall be using them the right way, for cheating.
' 'Concealed in my jacket, is a digital video recorder and pinhole camera.
'By clicking the switch I can take a picture of each word which is 'relayed to a laptop via wireless memory card.
'It's like Ocean's Eleven.
'Inside the laptop, custom software uses optical character recognition 'to recognise each word and a text-to-speech programme to say it.
'This is then transmitted to the My Spy earpiece in my ear.
' Y, E, S.
'I've placed all my trust in this system.
'When the cards are cut, I have no idea what the next word is.
'I'm totally reliant on gadgets to save me 'from humiliation in front of well over a dozen people.
' Shall we put it to the test? Yes, let's put it to the test.
Dominic, you may proceed.
The next one should be Bat.
The next word is V, A, N, Van.
Um, Antonio, the next word is Van.
Turn the card.
One all.
My technical support staff solution has worked once.
But will it work again? Right, the next one is definitely Top.
Well done, Dominic.
Next word.
S, A, X, Sax.
Antonio, the next word is Fax.
' 'Fortunately, I'm a seasoned liar.
' Did you say Fax? No, I said Sax.
What did he say? 'With Dominic none the wiser, the competition continues.
' Dominic.
The next one is a naughty word, it's called Pee.
P, double E.
So you have an image of someone urinating into a top hat.
Exactly so, how did you guess? M, A, N, Man.
'Three all.
'The excitement is just too much for large sections of the crowd, 'who choose to leave rather than face the emotional 'exhaustion of the competition's dizzying climax.
' Next one, please, Sophie, is Can.
Y, O, B, Yob.
'Four all.
The result will be decided by the final cards.
' Dot.
Next word.
B, A, T, Bat.
'A draw.
But in reality, a victory for gadgets.
' Dominic, how long has it taken you to reach the level of expertise to become eight times world champion? Well, I've been doing this for 25 years now.
So, 25 years.
What I did took me, I'd say 25 minutes.
So you say.
So bear that in mind.
I will.
What we've just seen is an exam invigilator's worst nightmare.
A near future where we can use technology to appear much more intelligent than we really are, and it has the added bonus of making us feel like cyborgs.
Next time, I aim to persuade comedians David Mitchell and Seann Walsh that with the right gadgets, you need never leave home again.
You can handle it.
You're a beast.
I don't think that did the engine any good.

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