Device hushes talkative bores into silence

March 4th, 2012 - 6:01 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 4 (IANS) A Japanese device could be handy in stopping bores who go about inflicting their loud, non-stop chatter on other people who may prefer silence.

The prototype, devised by Kazutaka Kurihara of National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Koji Tsukada, professor of technology at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, hushes loud talkers by playing back their own words after a fraction of a second.

The hand-held device, dubbed the SpeechJammer, comprises a microphone that is pointed at the speaker and records that person’s voice. It then transfers the sounds to a speaker and replays them back in the same direction with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun.

“The system can disturb remote people’s speech without any physical comfort,” the scientists, the journal MIT Technology Review reports.

Their tests also uncovered some unexpected findings, such as that the gun is more effective when the delay varies in time. It also works better when the speaker is reading aloud rather than giving a spontaneous monologue, according to the Telegraph.

Their research also revealed that it has no effect on meaningless sound sequences, such as “aaaargh.” Kurihara and Tsukada have not spelled out the commercial potential for their invention, but did list some possible applications. They said it could be used to maintain silence in public libraries and to “facilitate discussion” in group meetings.

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