Awesome Speech Jammer Gun From Japan Renders You Tongue-Tied

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March 5 2012 4:53 PM

Awesome Speech Jammer Gun From Japan Renders You Tongue-Tied

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(Temporary England Manager Stuart Pearce talks to the media during a press conference for the England Squad Announcement at Wembley Stadium on February 23, 2012 in London, England.)

Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images

For some of us, there are few things more exciting than a device that could get certain people to shut up. 

And that’s just what Japanese researchers say they’ve created, with the new Speech Jammer gun. Using a directional microphone, a directional speaker, and a distance sensor, the gun trips up its target by playing back their own voice to them at a slight delay of around 200 milliseconds.

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Think of it like that annoying cellphone echo, but scientifically designed for getting you to clam up. After their research went viral, researchers released a humorous video showing the gun in action, showing speakers apparently disoriented by the device.

Granted silence is golden, but the origin of the Speech Jammer gun is actually based in science that helps people speak their mind. Delayed auditory feedback devices like the Speech Jammer have proven helpful for people who struggle with stuttering. But for nonstutterers, it has the opposite effect. Get those things on the market quick guys—they might sell faster than the iPad 3.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.