How Do You Silence A Noisy Talker?

We’ve all been annoyed by discourteous speakers at various times in our lives. Whether they talk too loud, interrupt others, or talk too long, it is often frustrating for others in their presence. In group discussions, some may feel as if their ability to contribute has been compromised. In libraries or similar work spaces, many can be easily distracted from their projects. What if you had a way to silence these noisy speakers? Researchers in Japan have developed a device that does just that.

In a research paper from February 28th, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada describe the functionality and benefits of their new invention, the SpeechJammer. The SpeechJammer works by recording its target’s speech and playing it back at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds, in a process known as Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF). DAF at larger delay values causes stuttering in physically unimpaired individuals. The SpeechJammer uses DAF to cause its target to stutter before he or she is silenced completely.

Kurihara and Tsukada’s invention is aimed to relax the “unavoidability and occupancy” of speech, which they believe “can be barriers toward peaceful communication.” While the SpeechJammer offers some unique benefits, it would likely be a controversial addition to US markets. Questions of potential human rights or ethics violations would certainly be raised. What is the best way to present this device to American consumers? What are the best uses for this product? I would love your feedback. You can read the research paper for yourself here.

Speaking that Connects