Shut Up! The Japanese Have Built A Speech-Jamming Gun
By on March 2nd, 2012

This may be the most innovative (and useful) non-lethal weapon invented till date: the speech jamming gun. It’s a great way to shut people up, literally and it works just like any other gun; you point, you aim, you shoot and you silence! Two Japanese researchers, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Ochanomizu University respectively have come up with this marvelous invention.

A figure taken from the paper

The Silent Treatment

The principle is simple. A person’s speech is fed back to him with a slight delay of a few hundred milliseconds, using a mechanism called ‘Delayed Auditory Feedback’ (DAF). This can force the person to stop speaking. It exploits a well-known functionality of the brain called ‘auditory feedback’. The brain not only instructs speech, but also guides it, analyzing the every piece of vocal output. The trick is to stop the brain from hearing what actually comes out of our mouths. When the person’s own words are played back to him/her, the auditory cognition of the brain can be scrambled and, because it affects the logical cognitive processes in the brain, it becomes impossible to continue speaking!

The invention finds a place in the Cornell University Archives. The arXiv paper, titled ‘SpeechJammer: A System Utilizing Artificial Speech Disturbance with Delayed Auditory Feedback’, can be found here.

The paper says:

In general, human speech is jammed by giving back to the speakers their own utterances at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately by stop speaking.

One is merely limited by one’s own imagination as to how important and useful this instrument can turn out to be, especially in the hands of students in a classroom or in the hands of husbands in front of their wives. Enough said, time to stop talking.

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Author: Debjyoti Bardhan Google Profile for Debjyoti Bardhan
Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.

Debjyoti Bardhan has written and can be contacted at debjyoti@techie-buzz.com.

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