Japanese scientists invent bizarre gun that will make you shut up

When not inventing vending machines for ladies' underwear, Japanese innovators can do some mighty fine work. And their latest is the dream of every diplomat, teacher and parent: a gun that'll harmlessly stop people from talking.

MIT's Technology Review blog gives us the lowdown on the discovery by Kazutaka Kurihara at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology and Koji Tsukada at Ochanomizu University:

The idea is simple. Psychologists have known for some years that it is almost impossible to speak when your words are replayed to you with a delay of a fraction of a second.

Kurihara and Tsukada have simply built a handheld device consisting of a microphone and a speaker that does just that: it records a person's voice and replays it to them with a delay of about 0.2 seconds. The microphone and speaker are directional so the device can be aimed at a speaker from a distance, like a gun.

There is, apparently, no physical discomfort involved ... just an incapacity to speak.

Basically, it's this, but without the condescension:

Kurihara and Tsukada see this tech being applied in public libraries and corporate meetings, anyplace where "speech [can] become a barrier to the peaceful resolution of conflicts."

So, essentially, we don't need manners anymore ... there's a gun for that.

(via Technology Review)

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