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Friday, 02 March 2012 19:23

Japanese come up with silence gun

Written by Nick Farrell



At last a cure for Celine Dion


Japanese boffins have come up with a hand-held gun which is guaranteed to create peace in our time. The gun jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters away. At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking.  It could also be used   to save lives at a Celine Dion concert by pointing it a the stage.

However the gear has its dark side.  It was invented as a way of stopping “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The research note says that it is important to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.” In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce conversations which are deemed proper by Japanese boffins.

The gun works by listening in with a directional microphone, and then, after a short delay of around 0.2 seconds, playing it back with a directional speaker. This triggers an effect that psychologists call Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), which has long been known to interrupt your speech. DAF doesn’t cause physical discomfort, but the fact that you’re unable to talk is obviously quite stressful.

Nick Farrell

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