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Hardware Idle Science

Speech-Jamming Gun Silences From 30 Meters 370

Posted by samzenpus
from the shut-up-cannon dept.
MrSeb writes "Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away. The gun has two purposes, according to the researchers: At its most basic, this gun could be used in libraries and other quiet spaces to stop people from speaking — but its second application is a lot more chilling. The researchers were looking for a way to stop 'louder, stronger' voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation. The paper reads: 'We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking. However, some people tend to lengthen their turns or deliberately interrupt other people when it is their turn in order to establish their presence rather than achieve more fruitful discussions. Furthermore, some people tend to jeer at speakers to invalidate their speech.' In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce 'proper' conversations."
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Speech-Jamming Gun Silences From 30 Meters

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  • by parlancex (1322105) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @11:03AM (#39209425)
    According TFA all the "jammer" does is play back a copy of your speech delayed by 0.2 seconds, akin to being annoyed by loud echo on a VoIP phone or Skype conversation. While echo can sometimes be annoying when it interrupts yourself, it is fairly easy to adjust if you've done it before and talk over yourself. Because the gun features both a directional microphone and directional speaker, if you can comfortably talk over yourself everyone else will hear you just fine, sans echo.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 01, 2012 @11:04AM (#39209453)

    I was disappointed to see that it doesn't create some kind of actual interference, but rather just gives them a local echo of themselves and creates a psychological effect. This can easily be overcome with practice. If you've ever announced in a gym or a stadium, you get the same effect and get used to it quickly.

  • by snowgirl (978879) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @11:24AM (#39209841) Journal

    According TFA all the "jammer" does is play back a copy of your speech delayed by 0.2 seconds, akin to being annoyed by loud echo on a VoIP phone or Skype conversation. While echo can sometimes be annoying when it interrupts yourself, it is fairly easy to adjust if you've done it before and talk over yourself. Because the gun features both a directional microphone and directional speaker, if you can comfortably talk over yourself everyone else will hear you just fine, sans echo.

    Looking up Delayed Auditory Feedback, it's been long used to help stutterers to produce fluent speech. It causes them to speak slower, but they also speak more fluently.

    I'm with you, this does not actually stop speaking, it just makes it annoying and stressful to speak, but a lot of people won't suffer any impairment in dominating a conversation even with this device.

  • Getting used to it (Score:5, Informative)

    by DrYak (748999) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @11:56AM (#39210361) Homepage

    Same phenomenon :
    - for people used to do VoIP over shitty connection with a correspondant lacking echo cancellation (where you get a smiliar delayed echo). The first few days, you might be distrubed by the delayed echo. Afterward you just start ignoring it.
    - for people who've learned not to rely on auditory feedback when speaking (like simultaneous speech translators: they use sound blocking earphones to hear to source material, and speak the translation into a sound-proof recording mask, to avoid creating noise interference to other translator in neighbooring booths. Thus they are used to speak without any auditory feedback).
    - for deaf or hard-hearing persons who've lost the auditory feedback since long time ago.

    They too will be unaffected by this device, just like you probably aren't due to your training with shitty phone links.

    The only way to effectively silence a conversation would be using destructive interferrences (playing the conversation back in-sync but with opposite phase, to cancel out the noise).

  • by next_ghost (1868792) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @12:07PM (#39210545)
    Except that sticking fingers into your ears while speaking will render that gun useless.
  • Easy workaround (Score:5, Informative)

    by sarysa (1089739) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @12:54PM (#39211297)
    I read TFA and there seems to be a really easy workaround, and politicians making speeches can easily utilize it.

    The speaker can simply block their ears. The gun works by sending the speaker's audio back to them with a delay.
  • by lgw (121541) on Thursday March 01, 2012 @01:38PM (#39212015) Journal

    You can go to google and get dozens of examples of outright racist signs at Tea Party rallies right now if you bothered. I rarely hear people distance themselves from the racism and bigotry displayed in the movement, especially as regards Obama, either.

    Of course you can. It was fashionable on the left for a while to make racist signs and wave them at Tea Party rallies, and the press went with that, even going so far as removing black people from pictures to make the rallies look all white.

    And, did you know? It's mathematically possible to despise Obama without caring at all that he's black? Strange but true.

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