When inspiration comes

I once heard it said that the singer-songwriter Farrokh Bulsara − more commonly known as Freddy Mercury, the lead vocalist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen − used a piano as a headboard for his bed.

As legend has it, Mr Bulsara taught himself to play the piano backwards so that, if an idea for a new tune popped into his head while he was lying in bed, he could reach the instrument and record it for posterity before nodding back off to sleep again.

Whether this is true or not, I don’t really know. One thing I do know is that anyone who is involved in any sort of creative process − and I’d have to include any engineer faced with solving a particularly tricky engineering problem here − has experienced the phenomenon of waking at night only to find a solution staring them in the face.

That’s right. During the day, you may have slaved for hours over a hot workstation, drank gallons of coffee and even discussed your particularly troublesome engineering difficulty at endless lengths with your colleagues, but to no avail. Then suddenly, after just several hours in bed, you awake and suddenly the answer is right there.

A few of us will then make the effort to get up and jot down the idea using the nearest pen and paper, after which we can re-enter the land of nod safe in the knowledge that our inspired solution will be sitting there on our bedside table when we wake up in the morning.

Most of us, however, won’t do that. Often, because such ideas strike when we are far too sleepy to summon up the energy to move, they are forgotten, with the inevitable result that we end up cursing ourselves in the morning when we vaguely recollect that we had a brainwave in the wee small hours.

Well now, I’m pleased to say that there’s a Freddy Mercury-like solution to this thorny issue that is currently being marketed by an outfit called officeorganix.com. One look on this company’s website and you will realise just how effective its solution could be for individuals who consistently fail to take advantage of brilliant ideas generated by their brains while they are half asleep.

That’s right. The officeorganix system is actually a framework that fits around your bed to support a computer, keyboard, mouse and monitor. And while the system is probably of most use to those individuals with mobility problems, I can’t see any reason why those of us who are inspired with innovative ideas late into the early hours couldn’t take advantage of it too.

Now it’s quite possible that, while you might be quite thrilled by the idea of building a computer support system like this around your bed, your partner might have other ideas of what is, and is not, suitable for the bedroom. So it’s probably best to check with him or her before sending in the purchase order.

Personally, I’m placing an order for one right away. You see, I did have a much better idea for an editorial comment than this one just the other night as I was lying in bed…

Best wishes,

Dave Wilson
Editor, Electronicstalk

Dave’s comments form part of the weekly Electronicstalk newsletter, which also includes a round-up of the latest electronic products and services for engineers. To subscribe click here