Sick of that loud talker at the next table ruining your relaxing steak dinner? Wish the guy sitting next to you on the plane would just shut up? Now the peace and quiet you’ve been looking for is just a trigger pull away, thanks to National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology. They’ve developed what is, in essence, a shut-up gun.
Here’s how it works: The device is a handheld microphone with a speaker which records your words as you speak them and then plays them back at a .2 second delay. Apparently it’s a little known psychological fact that it’s impossible to speak when your words are played back to you at a fraction of a second. There’s no actual pain or discomfort involved, the device simply disturbs your speech pattern and leaves you tongue-tied.
Unfortunately it can’t stop you from uttering any sounds. It really only works on actual words and couldn’t stop you from groaning or yelling out “aaahhhh!”. It works also better on someone reading out loud than it does on a spontaneous monologue.
The device’s inventors, Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada suggest using it to keep people quiet in libraries, as a possible application. But it’s hard not to think that some nefarious individual might cobble one of these together and use it to say, sway an election. Point it at a presidential candidate during an important speech and you’ll make him look like an idiot in front of millions. Maybe this explains Sarah Palin?