I told them that the next demonstration would involve the well-known Bone Conduction technique. I placed the Bone Conductor on a bald spot (which I blame on having to attend the "H" Bomb Tests on Christmas Island in 1958) on my head and secured it with some Elastoplasts. The speech results were not as good as the previous two demos. But when I demonstrated that it really was Bone Conduction, by rapping my knuckles hard on my head, the BOOM BOOM from the loudspeaker on my chest was quite startling. There was a moment of silence then the whole place erupted into gales of laughter. It was not a pretty sight to see grown men giggling like two year olds. I looked towards Jack Hallett who seemed engrossed in some aspect of the ceiling and the College Commandant had his hand on the door seeming about to leave.
When calm was eventually restored I was able to move on to the final demonstration of a technique known as Ottolaryngical. I told the audience that this is a little known medical term that describes how the very fine hairs in the human Ear, wave about in the pressure waves as sound travels to the Ear Drum. The interesting thing is that these hairs also move in sympathy with the voice as a human speaks. These minute hair movements can be measured and amplified by a sensitive device placed in the ear canal. I mentioned that BA Pilots, who need to communicate if cabin pressure fails and an Oxygen Mask is used, were interested. Some Security Agencies were also interested because the user could transmit and receive messages while apparently only wearing a simple Hearing Aid.
And now for my final demonstration. I placed the Sensitive Device in my Ear, put on the Respirator, and started to read the police-recruiting poster on the wall. While I admit the reproduction was poor I did not think it justified raucous laughter that nearly lifted the roof. It went on and on and started to border on being hysterical. There was the odd handkerchief being used to wipe eyes and when I looked over to Jack Hallett for support, he was intently studying his fingernails. What surprised me was that these budding future Chief Superintendents/Chief Constables, found the concept of being able to "Speak from your Ear" so hilarious. I remembered the old adage, "get out while you're ahead". I quickly took off the Respirator, thanked them for listening (which caused more laughter) and left the Stage to, surprisingly, enthusiastic applause and happy smiles. Even now, some 30yrs later, I still get the odd nightmare about that visit.
I produced the Final Report on SAMBA in December 1976.
Acknowledgement: John Maloney