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Stop (Talking) Or I’ll Shoot With A Japanese Speech-Jamming Gun
March 1, 2012
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Don't pretend you don't want one of these: two scientists in Japan have just introduced a speech-jamming gun that forces people to stop talking. It doesn't harm the person speaking, but prevents them from continuing by replaying exactly what they're saying a fraction of a second after they say it.

The technology is based on psychological testing which found that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you moments after you say them. The scientists - Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada - have created a device that does exactly that: records a person's voice and plays it back with a delay of about 0.2 seconds.

The microphone and speaker are directional, so it can be aimed at a specific person from a distance, much like a gun. Very much unlike a weapon, however, there is no physical discomfort associated with the device. And while people may not be able to ask you to stop pointing that thing at them, they'll still be able to yell incoherently at you - in tests, the device had no effect on meaningless sound sequences like "aaargh".

At the moment, the scientists have not announced plans to sell the device. But they do claim it could be helpful in group meetings: "We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking", they say. The speech-jamming gun could be one way to make that happen. For now, try asking politely.

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