A pair of Japanese researchers, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Ochanomizu University, respectively have created a solution to a problem we didn’t even know existed; people talking too loudly, for too long, or out of turn. Their answer is a speech jamming gun that silences the person speaking.
The “SpeechJammer” uses a directional microphone to record the person speaking. A direction-sensitive loudspeaker then plays back the recording after a delay of about 0.2 seconds, a technique known as Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), which makes it nearly impossible for the speaker to continue talking.
“This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately (when) the speaking stops”, write the researchers in their report on the SpeechJammer. “Furthermore, this effect does not involve anyone but the speaker. It is expected that the negative aspects of speech can be relaxed by the ability to jam remote people’s speech.”
The researchers say there are some negative aspects of an unwanted speech, included the speech that you have to listen to and can’t stop, and occupancy speech when two people are trying to talk at once. These types of speech, say the researchers, hamper fair discussions, which are essential for resolving conflicts through communications and it is for this purpose that they created the SpeechJammer.
It seems as though the creation of a device that can literally be used to stifle free speech (at a political rally, say, or an Occupy Wall Street protest) is anything but good.