SpeechJammer: Aim and Shoot to Shut People Up

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bill-swift - March 8, 2012

Some people go to extreme lengths to shut other people up. You can shush all you want or put up signs all around the room, but there's nothing left to do but cover your ears in frustration over the people who just can't seem to put a cork on it. Unless, of course, you've got the SpeechJammer in possession.

The SpeechJammer is a surreal invention. It's something that you've probably seen or read about in comic books but never imagined to make it into real life, but that's exactly what Japanese researchers Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada managed to do.

The SpeechJammer is a prototype of a device that can literally silence people and 'jam' their voices. The device basically consists of a direction-sensitive microphone and a direction-sensitive speaker, a motherboard, and a distance sensor that work together to form the speech-jamming device thanks to some relatively simple code.

In their paper about the SpeechJammer,  Kurihara and Tsukada explained that it was to encourage people to take turns during conversations.

"We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately disrupt other people when it is their turn … rather than achieve more fruitful discussions."

--Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada

SpeechJammer works on the principle of delayed auditory feedback. What it does is play what someone is saying right back at them at a slight delay of around 200 milliseconds, which effectively jams their speech. Sounds simple enough, and they've got the video to prove that it actually works:

Giants running back Brandon Jacobs would probably have used the SpeechJammer on Gisele Bundchen when the latter blamed her husband's wide receivers for New England's Super Bowl loss last February:

Article by Hazel Chua
Gigadgetry: Cool Gadgets, Tech News, Quirky Devices 

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