SpeechJammer Jams the Talking of Annoying People

If you’ve ever wished that you could get someone to stop talking, now you may be able to.  Japanese researchers have just invented the first speech-jamming gadget.  They claim that is painlessly forces people to stop talking – even if they are mid-sentence.

Here’s how it works. Together, Kazutaka Kurihara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Koji Tsukada of Ochanomizu University, have developed what they call a “SpeechJammer” gun that can get people to be silent from up to 30 meters away.

The SpeechJammer works by recording the person’s speech and then firing their own words back at them with a .2 second delay.  This affects the way that the brain processes and causes the speaker to stutter and then to become silent.

Kurihara and Tzukada have described how the device works in a research paper. As they wrote,

"In general, human speech is jammed by giving back to the speakers their own utterances at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately by stopping speaking."

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Before you get too excited and run out to buy one, it’s important to know that it works better when people are reading than it does with regular speaking; and it can’t stop people from making sounds like “ahhh.”

As the authors wrote, "There are still many cases in which the negative aspects of speech become a barrier to the peaceful resolution of conflicts.”

It’s hard not to get excited thinking about the many possibilities with this device!



James Fishman has been involved in the world of online magazines for more than 15 years. He helped launch Sunstone Online and continues to improve the magazine as site editor and administrator. His writing focuses primarily business and technology. To be in touch with James, feel free to contact him at james[at]sunstoneonline.com.

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