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Speech Jamming "Gun"
March 2, 2012 7:29 AM   Subscribe

The gun effectively shuts down the part of your brain responsible for managing speech, and you fall immediately silent. Japanese researchers have created a hand-held gun that can jam the words of speakers who are more than 30 meters (100ft) away.
posted by bricksNmortar (91 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I had this gun it'd be like pew pew pew all day.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:32 AM on March 2, 2012 [34 favorites]


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

Oh god I hope they don't institute this on MetaF
posted by griphus at 7:33 AM on March 2, 2012 [24 favorites]


Wasn't there a thing recently about similar tech being used at big soccer matches? For cutting down on the songs/chants/whatnot that lead up to the fights?
posted by jquinby at 7:33 AM on March 2, 2012


Hah, that's kind of genius. Cell phone delay echo really fucks up your thought process.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:33 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've had this happen on conference calls to our office on the other side of the planet. If it's the same thing as described in the article it's really not that debilitating with regards to speech. Does it make you think harder and potentially sound like a doofus due to adding in pauses and "um"s? Yes. Does it make speech impossible or jam your words? Not that I've experienced.

I'd be fun to play with though, I know that much.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:34 AM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Couldn't you overcome that just by putting your fingers in your ears or something?
posted by kyrademon at 7:35 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's ascribing a lot more power to the phenomenon of delayed auditory feedback than seems warranted. This wouldn't render people silent. It would make them stumble over their words once or twice before they got used to it.

On preview: what RolandOfEld said.
posted by penduluum at 7:36 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

Bring back the "no more than N newspapers and M TV stations owned by a given entity in a given market" rule? Or maybe just raise taxes sharply at the top levels.
posted by DU at 7:37 AM on March 2, 2012 [9 favorites]


This is the only gun for which I'd have a list of people.
posted by glaucon at 7:37 AM on March 2, 2012


I can't wait for the "app" to do this from my smartphone.

This is nearly as cool as that fob that can shut-off any tv.
posted by bricksNmortar at 7:37 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is an amusing, that people stop talking when they hear what they are saying.
posted by entropone at 7:38 AM on March 2, 2012 [8 favorites]


M TV stations

We need M TV stations for T RL situations
posted by nathancaswell at 7:39 AM on March 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


I never knew the 'M' in MTV denoted an integer.
posted by Wolfdog at 7:39 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


The effect they're talking about is the same effect you get when you have really bad latency on a VOIP call -- your own voice echoing back at you. It's annoying, but you can definitely get used to it. The main effect it causes isn't shutting down your ability to speak completely, it's 'stammering' or 'stuttering'.
posted by empath at 7:39 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


(oh, and it wouldn't work on an audience at all, as was suggested in the article. It would just be more crowd noise)
posted by empath at 7:41 AM on March 2, 2012


In fact, I think most public speakers are already used to it, because they get the effect simply from having their voice amplified. There's always some latency between when you talk and when the sound comes out of the speakers and echoes back at you.
posted by empath at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2012


I'd be fun to play with though, I know that much.
It is very easy to play with audio delays in Pure Data.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2012


Wow. A STFU gun. Sounds like something Courageous Cat would've carried.
posted by jonmc at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's a hand-held Constitutional crisis.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:42 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yes, let's totally go the route of figuring out ways to keep people from being able to speak out in public. I find this absolutely chilling, whether or not this iteration of the technology actually works as intended. The chilling part is the "as intended" part.
posted by Kimberly at 7:43 AM on March 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Wouldn't one of Harley Quinn's spring loaded boxing glove guns be cheaper and more effective? I bet you wouldn't even really need to fire it - most people would shut up upon seeing the gun itself, let alone your full harlequin leotard.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:43 AM on March 2, 2012 [12 favorites]


Hooray!




Wait. No. The other thing.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:44 AM on March 2, 2012 [11 favorites]


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

Back in my day, we didn't have any of these fancy speech suppression brain guns keep a conversation civil. Instead we would just use a conch shell that we had found on the beach to control who could talk. And when that stopped working and the conch shell was eventually destroyed, it served as a metaphor for our descent into chaos and signaled the loss of our last vestiges of civilization. That's the way it was and we liked it.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:48 AM on March 2, 2012 [31 favorites]


SSIILLEENNCCEEDD AALLLL MMYY LLIIFFEE
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:49 AM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yes, let's totally go the route of figuring out ways to keep people from being able to speak out in public.

Actually, guns that definitely keep people from being able to speak out in public have been available for a long while. They usually fire bullets.
posted by Skeptic at 7:50 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

According to wikipedia, Rush Limbaugh broadcasts from his studios near his home in Palm Beach County, Florida...

I believe in Free Speech but I also believe in April Fool's Day.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:51 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Points device at web site.

"Oh, /shut up/ about your dwindling civil liberties already. We are living in our glorious future which is, in all ways, better than ever before."
posted by clvrmnky at 7:53 AM on March 2, 2012


This is nearly as cool as that fob that can shut-off any tv.

I saw one guy get the everloving shit kicked out of him at an otherwise peaceful and laidback bar for using one of those. He was trying to be sneaky about it, but someone in the crowd spotted it and ratted him out. The bartender and a couple of bar-backs completely gang-gooned him, and sent him out the door none too gently with a lifetime ban and a few bruises. The guy's friends said they were going to call the cops, but none showed up, and they were refused service until they left.

Be real careful using one of those.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:56 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


At first I thought this was about normal guns that shoot bullets, with the brain being shut down belonging to the shooter.
posted by swift at 7:58 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


I used to do announcements in a stadium and I indeed had to stick my fingers in my ears to block the delayed, reverberating sound of my own voice...
posted by jim in austin at 8:02 AM on March 2, 2012


Wouldn't that Railgun we saw the other day do pretty much the exact same thing? (assuming it came equipped with some kind of "Shut Up or Else" sign.)
posted by ShutterBun at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think this is as scary as the tone of the article would suggest, as it sounds like this is more annoying than seriously debilitating. What I find funny is the framing as a device created to enforce rules of conversation... as if the people this device is intended to stop would be any more than momentarily set back by its effects. And if someone in your meeting is so out of control that you need an anti-speech gun, it's already a lost cause anyway.
posted by Kosh at 8:04 AM on March 2, 2012


Mrs Jones does not need a gun to have that effect on me.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:05 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do I feel like Dr Heller had a hand in this?

"Oh no no no. All these weapons are completely non-lethal!"
posted by vitabellosi at 8:05 AM on March 2, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yeah this is kind of a gimmick, there is an app for iphone that does the same thing using headphones called idiotizer
posted by Ad hominem at 8:11 AM on March 2, 2012


Annoying technical solution for annoying social problem. What could possibly be wrong with this infallible parallelism?
posted by iamkimiam at 8:13 AM on March 2, 2012


ARE YaOUre SUyREou THsuISre THIthiNGs thISing ON is on?
posted by bz at 8:14 AM on March 2, 2012


The fact that I want this probably means that it's going to be horribly abused...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:14 AM on March 2, 2012


So this is why God took Breitbaet from us.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:15 AM on March 2, 2012


Bring it to the GOP.
posted by stormpooper at 8:15 AM on March 2, 2012


Breitbart. Obv.
posted by R. Schlock at 8:16 AM on March 2, 2012


does the same thing using

by does the same thing, I mean uses the same effect. It plays your speach back with a slight delay which makes you oddly confused and makes it harder to speak.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:16 AM on March 2, 2012


Duct tape works better.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2012


I never knew the 'M' in MTV denoted an integer.


To avoid odd results, I think it is better to restrict M to the natural numbers and "0."
posted by Glomar response at 8:19 AM on March 2, 2012


Odd -> Unintended

oops
posted by Glomar response at 8:20 AM on March 2, 2012


I saw one guy get the everloving shit kicked out of him at an otherwise peaceful and laidback bar for using one of those. He was trying to be sneaky about it, but someone in the crowd spotted it and ratted him out. The bartender and a couple of bar-backs completely gang-gooned him, and sent him out the door none too gently with a lifetime ban and a few bruises. The guy's friends said they were going to call the cops, but none showed up, and they were refused service until they left.

Be real careful using one of those.


As much as I love the idea of those things, damn, people love their TV. It's like getting between a bear and cubs.
posted by odinsdream at 8:20 AM on March 2, 2012


Kinda strikes me as the exact opposite of the (real? fake? made-up?) therapy used in "The King's Speech," whereby drowning out the speaker's own voice (with headphones) he was able to speak clearly.
posted by ShutterBun at 8:21 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


At first I thought this was about normal guns that shoot bullets, with the brain being shut down belonging to the shooter.

Not in Japan, where the ownership of a firearm, the ownership of a bullet, and being responsible for the discharge of a bullet from a firearm are three separate crimes on top of what happens after the bullet hits something.
posted by griphus at 8:24 AM on March 2, 2012


I'll bet this sounds awesome with a little flange and some overdrive.
posted by malocchio at 8:25 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

Answers to that already exist: protocol. It is a problem in writing crit and other discussion groups, where the louder and pushier individuals tend to dominate the discussion. One answer is to use structured discussion: first go round the table allowing everyone to comment individually, with a time limit and no interruption allowed. Another one was the "glass box": the one whose work was being criticised isn't allowed to answer back until everyone has commented. From past experience, people who objected to these protocols were invariably the very ones causing the problem.
posted by raygirvan at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll bet this sounds awesome with a little flange and some overdrive.

Throw some reverb on it just for kicks
posted by bumpjump at 8:26 AM on March 2, 2012


Sounds like just the thing for taking out enemy spellcasters
posted by Dr Dracator at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2012 [6 favorites]


"Keep people quiet in libraries"? Right.

NOOOO! THE GIANT DEATH RAY MUST BE USED FOR GOOD, NOT EVIL! I AM A MAN OF SCIENCE!
posted by DecemberBoy at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2012


In other words, this speech-jamming gun was built to enforce “proper” conversations.

I think if you feel the need for enforcement, you should probably have a conversation with someone else. Or teach them some manners.
posted by Juso No Thankyou at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2012


I don't know why, but this reminds me of a device i saw at SIGGRAPH years ago. It was a dome that could be installed above an area, and only when under it would you hear the sounds it projected. I "knew" how it worked, but it was still awesome to experience. If they could just do the opposite, where it would cancel out sounds in that area, that would be even cooler (might not work in reality though, heh).
posted by usagizero at 8:28 AM on March 2, 2012


I had a friend Ed who, for yucks, would start parroting whatever one might be saying. He was pretty good at it and the usual result was a silly smile and a "cut it out". Good times.

This thing? Not so much.
posted by mistersquid at 8:34 AM on March 2, 2012


I just had a quick thought, that a far more effective application to silence people would be to develop a highly soluble muscle paralysis mist with a very short timed efficacy of absorption into skin, resulting in very slight reduction in limb movement, and near instant breakdown once absorbed into the blood, mucus membranes or eyes, but would effectively paralyze the eyelids, vocal chords, larynx, and perhaps impact the upper portion of the respiratory and digestive tracts... Might need sincere tweaking to not result in deaths....

{shifts eyes sneakily, goes off to underground lair for additional research}
posted by Debaser626 at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2012


If they could just do the opposite, where it would cancel out sounds in that area, that would be even cooler

Done already.
posted by Skeptic at 8:35 AM on March 2, 2012


It's funny -- everybody thought that in the future we'd be living in a William Gibson novel, and instead we're living in a Ben Marcus novel.
posted by escabeche at 8:37 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


For those of you who aren't familiar with this psycho-acoustic phenomenon, it is NOT JUST TALKING OVER AN ECHO. There is a very specific feedback mechanism in our normal speech that a delay with a certain time value can utterly disrupt.

When your own voice is fed back to you at a specific delay time, the feedback loop which exists between your mouth making the sounds and your ears hearing it being correctly produced which comprises thoughtful speech can be 'short-circuited', causing the actual process of speaking to become halting or impossible altogether.

The effect can be dispelled with a bit of concentration towards consciously breaking the feedback loop from your ears and speaking "without listening", as it were, but it takes a bit of practice getting used to.

There was a display of this phenomenon set up in the local Science Center years ago. It was my favorite station in the acoustic science department, and I visited it again and again trying to overcome the effect.

It can be done, but the disruption in the unprepared speaker's ears and brain is pretty effective until coping mechanisms are employed.
posted by Aquaman at 8:38 AM on March 2, 2012 [5 favorites]


speaking "without listening", as it were
Shouldn't be a problem for most people. They never really listen, anyway.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 8:44 AM on March 2, 2012


Aquaman, that's actually fascinating. Do you know if there has been some research on whether some speech impediments are cause by "faulty wiring" in the brain causing an extra delay in hearing? That would explain the "King's Speech" therapy, which seemed quite plausible to me: although I don't quite stutter, I tend to make very long pauses, unless I stop listening to myself.
posted by Skeptic at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I aint saying it isn't a profound effect. I'm saying you could probably defeat it by running in circles so they can't target you or putting on headphones.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:49 AM on March 2, 2012


The researchers were looking for a way to stop “louder, stronger” voices from saying more than their fair share in conversation.

I found a solution for this, too, when I was six: walking away.

not that six-year-old me wouldn't have enjoyed a gun version, of course
posted by davejay at 8:50 AM on March 2, 2012


LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA--- I CAN'T HEAR YOU --- LALALALALALALALALALALALALALA
posted by briank at 8:51 AM on March 2, 2012


I never knew the 'M' in MTV denoted an integer.

No, the M changed from "Music" to "Marketing" sometime in the late 80s.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:52 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Anyone post this yet? I don't have time to read the whole thread.
posted by delmoi at 8:53 AM on March 2, 2012


Historians will observe that we stopped listening long before we stopped ourselves from hearing.
posted by TwelveTwo at 9:05 AM on March 2, 2012


Okay, okay...but, let's say I'm in the Library, and I fall down and can't get up. Will it jam my life alert signal, or only my cries for help?

Maybe I'll just stay home now.
posted by mule98J at 9:05 AM on March 2, 2012


So that's what happened to Rick Perry!
posted by edgeways at 9:06 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


I also find this very chilling. Even when
posted by mach at 9:13 AM on March 2, 2012


I also find this very chilling. Even when
posted by mach at 9:13 AM on March 2, 2012


...
posted by mach at 9:14 AM on March 2, 2012 [4 favorites]


They're saying:
"We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking."

Anyone else reading: "WE have to establish and YOU obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking."
posted by Smedleyman at 9:16 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


... and then there's Harrison Bergeron.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:30 AM on March 2, 2012


I'm in favor of this, mostly because some days I want everyone to stop talking forever.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2012


> I don't have time to read the whole thread.

Someone please shoot that guy with the shut-up gun
posted by bukvich at 9:36 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


entropone: "It is an amusing, that people stop talking when they hear what they are saying."

So, basically this is a rudimentary version of the Total Perspective Vortex....

I guess I'm glad that our civilization is finally starting to move past its attempts to actualize the Neal Stevenson dystopia, and is now focusing on implementing Douglas Adams' nonsensical technocracy.
posted by schmod at 9:49 AM on March 2, 2012


Can they make it work over the internet?
posted by Afroblanco at 10:14 AM on March 2, 2012


Ah, I see, the mother-in-law pistol.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:23 AM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why do I feel like Dr Heller had a hand in this? "Oh no no no. All these weapons are completely non-lethal!"

Ut! His friend the Flaming Carrot will stick with guns, thank you.
posted by JHarris at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2012 [3 favorites]


Doesn't stop sign language.

*flips bird*
posted by Mister Fabulous at 10:35 AM on March 2, 2012


*flips bird in return after a precise delay*
posted by hattifattener at 12:23 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


As a parent of four and foster parent to twelve, I've invented this gun in my head a million times.
posted by cross_impact at 1:45 PM on March 2, 2012


Huh. I have no lulz, all I can think of is horrendous abuses of power.
posted by desuetude at 2:20 PM on March 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hardly a 'chilling' invention. Anyone can quickly learn to overcome 'delayed-auditory feedback' by using the muscle that lets us converse at a crowded party. And who will learn quickest, but those who are most compelled to be heard at length.

A little more chilling is the fact that if you don't know that, you'll already have bought one before you do. Call it 'delayed-consumer feedback', and gotta admire those crafty Japanese marketers.
posted by Twang at 1:32 AM on March 3, 2012


Man, this reminds me of my 2nd interview with Google - a phone call from Australia to Mountain View. Worst echo ever and I could hardly string a sentence together, let alone a coherent response to an interview question.
posted by cogat at 1:57 AM on March 3, 2012


There's always someone waiting to tell us something horrible isn't really all that horrible.
posted by JHarris at 2:47 AM on March 3, 2012


Well then, we shall all have to learn ASL.
posted by Spatch at 11:12 AM on March 3, 2012


Ah, I see, the mother-in-law pistol.

This joke was like written 5,000 years ago, so why do I still laugh (coldly and bitterly)?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:45 AM on March 5, 2012


Commentary on Language Log and from Sophie Scott, Professor at the Speech Communication Laboratory of the University College London.
posted by knile at 6:54 AM on March 7, 2012


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