updated 10:35 pm EST, Thu March 1, 2012
System said to work without physical discomfort
Japanese researchers have reportedly developed a "SpeechJammer" device that is claimed to effectively block people from speaking. The device works using a psychological phenomena that is said to make it difficult for someone to speak when their own works are played back to them with a short delay, wether they are reading from text or vocalizing an impromptu monologue.
The jammer, which was codeveloped by Kazutaka Kurihara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University, is claimed to function without causing any physical discomfort and utilizes directional microphones and speakers to engage specific individuals.
Preliminary research shows the jammer is most effective when the delay is variable and around a few hundred milliseconds, and works better at interrupting a target who is attempting to read.
"There are still many cases in which the negative aspects of speech become a barrier to the peaceful resolution of conflicts," the researchers note. "We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking."
It remains unclear if the technology will be developed into a commercially-available device. [via Technology Review]