'Speechjammer' Gun Will Shut You Up

Speech-jamming gun makes it difficult for speaker to keep talking
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2012 3:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Wouldn't it be nice if you could somehow force the people behind you at the movies to stop talking? With the "Speechjammer," a new "weapon" developed by Japanese scientists, you could. The speech-jamming gun works by recording speech, then playing it back after a delay of about 0.2 seconds—in such a way so that only the speaker, at whom the gun is pointed, can hear the playback. The effect, known as "artificial stuttering," makes it very difficult for the speaker to get the next words out, since he or she is hearing a sort of constant echo.

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Scientists at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology claim to have developed the Speechjammer by combining a directional microphone with a directional speaker. They say the gun can be used from around 34 meters, or 111 feet, away, although other directional amplification technologies do reach further, the Raw Story notes. The researchers created the gun in order to stop "louder, stronger" voices from overtaking a conversation, according to their paper—and that makes ExtremeTech very, very nervous for the future of free speech. (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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