It looks like the days of being shushed at the library could be numbered. A couple of Japanese scientists have invented a device that can force someone to stop talking.
SpeechJammer is the name of the device and it can be used to silence someone from as far as 100 feet away. The device looks like a radar gun used by police to track how fast cars are going. To silence someone, you simply use the laser targeter to target the talker’s mouth and pull the trigger.
SpeechJammer takes what the target is saying and relays it back to them with a very short delay. The brain has difficulty processing the information while trying to speak so it causes the speaker to become silent. The process is pain-free and the silencing effect goes away immediately after the device is no longer used.
Kazutaka Kurihara of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Koji Tsukada of Ochanomizu University are the inventors of the device. They have written a paper detailing the technology used and also have a protoype of the device. They even created a video showing examples of how the SpeechJammer could be used.
Of course, there are huge moral and ethical questions about having a device that would keep people from being able to speak. You can just imagine some unscrupulous uses for the SpeechJammer. Fortunately, we’ll have to wait a while to see the device in action.
So far, all there is a research paper on how it could be used and the protoype which shows the various parts of the device. It doesn’t look like the prototype is fully functional. It’s just a model of the theoretical SpeechJammer.
In the meantime, librarians will have to resort to the good old-fashioned shushing they’re used to to deal with obnoxiously loud library patrons.