Researchers Develop SpeechJammer, Stop Annoying Speakers In Mid-Sentence

By March 1, 2012

Just as predictable as stale doughnuts and burned coffee, every conference has one speaker that just won’t stop.  A speaker that drones on & on dismissing an audience of rolling eyes and yawns.

But thanks to Japanese researchers at Kazutaka Kurihara at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tskuba and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University, there’s a more advanced way to stop the babblering podium-hugger than dragging them off stage with a Vaudeville Hook. The researchers have developed the ‘SpeechJammer,’ a device which can silence even the longest winded of speakers.

How does it work?

Kurihara and Tsukada have built a device that replicates a phenomena well known to psychologists for years: It is almost impossible to continue to speak if  as you talk your words are replayed with a fraction of a second delay.

Using a directional microphone and a speaker, the  speech jamming device records a speaker’s voice and replays it at a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The directional equipment allow an annoyed audience can aim the device at the speaker from a distance.

In their published report,  Kurihara and Tsukada say that their tests have been successful thus far: “The system can disturb remote people’s speech without any physical discomfort.”

They also note that their tests revealed interesting patterns in delayed auditory feedback’ effectiveness on disturbing speech: The gun is most effective when the delay varies in time & when the speaker is reading aloud vs. spouting off a monologue.  While the researchers have not stated commercial applications, one can imagine that one day the SpeechJammer will be in the arsenal of every conference attendee and Congressman/woman.


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