Forget Cell Phone Jammers, Use A Speech Jammer

Device to silence incessant talkers created by Japanese scientists was published in The Telegraph and is recounted in full here as it is simply too much fun to contemplate what uses this could be put to.  Staff Meetings?  Overcrowded classrooms?  Conversations with a Spouse?  In a Car?  In a Bar?  (nod to Dr. Seuss anniversary this week).

What is it?  A device that silences incessant talkers or mutes people who talk too loudly that has been created by Japanese scientists.

SpeechJammer; Japanese Researchers have created a handheld gun that can literally stop you from talking

Dubbed the SpeechJammer, the prototype device takes advantage of psychologists’ discovery that it is virtually impossible to speak when your own words are being played back to you with a delay of a fraction of a second.

The gadget has been devised by Kazutaka Kurihara, a researcher at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and Koji Tsukada, a professor at Ochanomizu University in Tokyo, and is remarkably simple.

The hand-held device consists of a microphone that is pointed at the speaker and records that person’s voice. It then transfers the sounds to a speaker and replays them back in the same direction 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.

"The system can disturb remote people’s speech without any physical comfort," the scientists said in a paper reported in the MIT Technology Review.

Their tests also uncovered some unexpected findings, such as that the gun is more effective when the delay varies in time. It also works better when the speaker is reading aloud rather than giving a spontaneous monologue.

Their research also revealed that it has no effect on meaningless sound sequences, such as "aaaargh."

Kurihara and Tsukada have not spelled out the commercial potential for their invention, but did list some possible applications.

They said it could be used to maintain silence in public libraries and to "facilitate discussion" in group meetings.

"We have to establish and obey rules for proper turn-taking when speaking," they said. "There are still many cases in which the negative aspects of speech become a barrier to the peaceful resolution of conflicts."

Speaking Of: Geo Users North America Summit

Reprinted from GoogleLatLong.  I was lucky enough to speak and be a part of this learning and crowdsourcing experience this summer.

The View from the Summit: Celebrating Geo Users Across North America

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Across the globe, a steadily growing community of passionate users are blazing new trails in the world of online geographic content. With the help of products like Google Map Maker, Google SketchUp and Building Maker, and Panoramio, Geo enthusiasts are harnessing the ability to add and edit various aspects of geography across 180 countries and regions in Google Maps and Google Earth.

To celebrate the valuable contributions of our users, particularly in light of Map Maker’s United States launch in April, we felt it was time to connect with our amazing U.S. Geo Community in person. From July 20th-22nd, the Google Geo team welcomed avid mappers, 3D modelers and Panoramio photo contributors from throughout North America to our Mountain View campus for the first ever United States Geo User Summit.

Brian McClendon addresses a rapt audience of Geo users

The summit was an opportunity for our most active contributing users to come together to learn, teach and share best practices with one another. A Map Maker workshop brought everyone up to speed on solid mapping practices and ways to add that next level of comprehensiveness to the map. Google reviewers also made the trip to Mountain View, CA to connect directly with users and give them the inside scoop on what goes into reviewing an incredible number of mapping edits each day, while offering insight to both new and experienced mappers. The user-generated unconference sessions also gave everyone a chance to troubleshoot, voice ideas, and brainstorm potential new product features with Googlers. There was also plenty of playtime, including an RC Car Scavenger Hunt, which had teams of summit attendees chasing remote controlled toy cars to points of interest across the Google campus. Ultimately, however, the event served as a forum for users to share their amazing and inspiring stories with fellow members of the Geo community.

Geo users mark their place on the map

Hearing their stories and perspectives was definitely the highlight of the summit. For example, Sophia Sallas-Brookwell, an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, introduced her plan to implement Map Maker as a means of addressing the inequitable distribution of healthy food options in Chicago’s South Side. Educator John Walker described his extensive use of mapping and 3D modeling in his Gresham, Oregon classroom, and how he encourages his high school students to leave a thoughtful footprint in the world. Many other users also shared their tips, tricks, and motivations, igniting a noticeable enthusiasm among attendees.

Googlers and Geo users join forces on Google’s Mountain View Crittenden Campus

If you weren’t among the crowd at this summer’s U.S. Geo User Summit, feel free to visit the event website, where you can browse photos of featured speakers, brainstorming sessions, and RC toy cars escaping into the sunset. Extensive session notes and presentations are also available. If you’re interested in attending future events, please see the Map Maker Events Calendar, 3D Events Calendar and Panoramio Events Calendar. This summit was just the beginning of an ongoing celebration of the passionate mappers, modelers, and photo contributors around the world.

Posted by Lori Savageau, Community Manager, Google Map Maker