Researchers Develop a Speech-Jamming Gun That Will Shut You Up

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[Photo: Kazutaka Kurihara, Koji Tsukada]
Japanese Researchers have created a handheld gun that can literally stop you from talking. The system is called the “SpeechJammer” and it can jam a talking person from up to 100 feet (30 meters) away.

The gun works by listening with a directional microphone, and it plays back the same audio clip back at the speaker at a 0.2-second delay. This small delay is enough to keep you from forming coherent sentences.

Normally when you talk, you also unconsciously listen to your voice to make sure what you say comes out correctly. But hearing your own voice at a slight delay is enough to trip you up in a conversation.

The psychological effect is known as Delayed Auditory Feedback, and you might have already experienced if you’ve ever heard your echo over the phone or a Skype call. I certainly have enough times over Xbox Live where I would say things twice or in extremely broken sentences, or just stop talking altogether because of the aggravation.

The researchers say that they developed the SpeechJammer to be a learning tool for those who talk out-of-turn, or go on for “too long.” In addition to teaching proper conversation etiquette, the researchers envision seeing this tech installed into libraries and other public spaces where excessive talking is prohibited.

As ingenious as the SpeechJammer is, if you are a firm believer in free speech, you might already wonder how long it will be until this is scaled up into a nefarious protest silencer.

Fortunately for us, no impact words on written it has...

[Cornell University Library via Technology Review]

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