Japanese researchers obsessed with good manners have developed a hand held device capable pausing any conversation.
The creators Kazutaka Kurihara and Koji Tsukada have stated their intention was to allow the enforcing of proper conversation etiquette. The device itself resembles an oversized black box with a trigger handle, obviously this is a prototype only at the moment. In its current state of development the gun requires an external PC to do the audio processing, limiting its use to indoor environments, such as class rooms, teachers rejoice.
There are already many theories that the Silent Ray Gun could be used to combat free speech. This is overstating the effect of the Silence Ray Gun and understating the various forms of communication that add up to free speech.
The technology behind the gun is quite simple. A direction microphone locates the noisy source and the audio is sent back to the source with a .2 second delay. This doesn’t cancel out the noise but instead causes the speaker to hear an echo. Like a bad mobile phone connection that throws you off, the echo is enough to confuse the speech centre of the brain. This triggers an effect that psychologists call Delayed Auditory Feedback (DAF), which has long been known to interrupt your speech. DAF doesn’t cause physical discomfort, but the fact that you’re unable to talk is obviously quite stressful.
There is also the fact that the silence ray is dependent on the target having hearing and listening to what they are saying. For the hard of hearing it may just lead to What? being said a lot. We all know a number of people who seem to have a disconnect between their brain and what is being said, it is doubtful the silent ray gun will have too much effect on these people.
Finally librarians have more at their disposal than shooshh, one shot with the Silence Ray Gun and the silence interrupting loud talkers can be stopped in their tracks. Perfect for those moments when you need a break in the conversation the Silence Ray Gun, enforcing polite conversations everywhere.