Silence is golden, so there are plenty of times when it'd be awfully convenient to mute those around us, and a couple of Japanese researchers have created a gadget that can do just that. Called the SpeechJammer, it's able to "disturb remote people's speech without any physical discomfort
" by recording and replaying what you say a fraction of a second after you say it. Why would that shut up the chatty Cathy next to you? Delayed auditory feedback (DAF) is based on an established psychological principle that it's well-nigh impossible for folks to speak when their words are played back to them just after they've been uttered. SpeechJammer puts the power of DAF in a radar gun-style package that uses a directional mic and speaker, distance sensor and a trigger switch to turn it on, plus a laser pointer for targeting purposes -- so you simply point and shoot at your talkative target, and enjoy the silence that ensues. Piggy, your new conch has arrived, and this one can make
Jack keep quiet.