SpeechJammer Gun Silences Talkers

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The technological advancements storming out of Japan now include two researchers’ methods for building a conversation ending SpeechJammer gun.

Imagine the board room meeting droning on for hours on end, and the very second a couple of the corporate clowns bend their heads down to joke with one another at a whisper (so that they can placate themselves and not lose their sanity in such a dry environment) the director points a radar gun-like device at them and – BAM – silences them instantly.

The device created by Kazutaka Kurihara, from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba, and Koji Tsukada, at Ochanomizu University is not science fiction. On the other hand, it is simple, easy to engineer, and fully functional. It can stop people from talking in mid-sentence.

Psychologists have known for some years that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you with a delay of a fraction of a second. There must be some inner sentience within the brain that is self-conscious and cannot abide hearing itself played back in near tandem.

The effect is not physically harmful in any way (or so they say), and as soon as the SpeechJammer is turned off everyone is free to banter on again.

In a report posted at the Cornell University Library web site, Kurihara and Tsukada state that “[they] utilize this phenomenon and [have] implemented two prototype versions [of the guns] by combining a direction-sensitive microphone and a direction-sensitive speaker, enabling the speech of a specific person to be disturbed. We discuss practical application scenarios of the system, such as facilitating and controlling discussions.”

It will be interesting to learn just whose discussions are controlled in the future.

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