Michele Masterson

SpeechJammer Gun Silences Annoying Talkers

If only Jerry Seinfeld had a SpeechJammer gun to silence all those long, loud, close and high talkers. Thanks to Japanese researchers this could one day be a reality.

Scientists from the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Ochanomizu University recently published a paper, “SpeechJammer,” detailing two prototypes that combine a direction-sensitive microphone and speaker.

In one prototype, the researchers used a direction-sensitive microphone (Sony ECM-Z60) and a direction sensitive speaker (Tri-state Parametric Speaker Kit) which are equipped on an acrylic case. The case has a screw thread for tripods and it can be attached on general tripods to adjust the angle and height. The output terminal of the direction sensitive microphone is connected to the terminal of the host PC. The external input terminal is connected to the headphone output terminal of the host PC. The host PC runs an acoustic processing program written in Pure Data that gives arbitrary delays to the input from the direction sensitive microphone and outputs it to the direction sensitive speaker, the authors wrote.

The second prototype is portable and enables standalone operations without a host PC. In addition to a direction sensitive microphone (Sony ECMCZ10) and a direction sensitive speaker (Tri-state Parametric Speaker Kit), a laser pointer, a distance meter, switches, and a mother board are fitted in an originally designed acrylic case. The laser pointer is used to set the SpeechJammer’s sight approximately, and is enabled and disabled by a switch on the back of the device.

In the preliminary study, SpeechJammer was able to induce artificial stuttering of the participants.

“In general, human speech is jammed by giving back to the speakers their own utterances at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds,” said the researchers. “This effect can disturb people without any physical discomfort, and disappears immediately by stop speaking. Furthermore, this effect does not involve anyone but the speaker.”

So, in the future you might want to think twice before you go shooting off your mouth because one day someone could do it for you.