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Speech-jamming device will render you speechless


(CBS News) Is there an annoying yapper next to you that just won't keep quiet? Now, thanks to a newly developed speech-jamming gadget, they can be silenced.

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Tech Talk reported that Kazutaka Kurihara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Koji Tsukada of Ochanomizu University invented the SpeechJammer gun, a device capable of making its target mute. From a distance of up to 30 meters away, the device records the target's speech. Then, it shoots their own words right back at them, causing the subject to stutter before rendering them silent.

How does it work?

When speaking, we do not only utilize the sound as output, but also use the "auditory feedback" - otherwise known as the noise coming out of our mouth - for clues, according to an article published by the device's creators in Cornell University's archives. When the SpeechJammer sends the speaker's words back to them with a 0.2 second delay, the brain's cognitive process halts. This effect stops people from talking, but doesn't cause them any physical pain.

The device works better on people who are reading aloud rather than people who are spontaneously speaking. It can't stop "ohs," "umms" and all those other speech fillers that are uttered over a long period.

Kurihara and Tsukada said that they hope the speech-jamming gun can be used to make people be quiet in the library or to hush people when they are in a group discussion.

What would you use a SpeechJammer for?