Better Debating Through Electronics

Watch any news panel show these days, and you’ll see that things can very quickly become unruly. Guests compete for airtime by shouting over one another and attempting to derail their opponent’s talking points. [cutajar.sacha] had encountered this very problem in the workplace, and set about creating a solution.

The result is the Debatable Deliberator, and it combines the basics of “Talking Stick” practices with behavioural training through humiliation. Two participants each wear a headband, fitted with electronics. The holder of the magic ball may speak for as long as the timer counts down. If their opponent speaks during this time, their headband reprimands them with gentle slapping to the face. If the holder speaks over their assigned time, they are similarly treated to mechanical slapping.

It’s an amusing way to help police a discussion between two parties, and it’s all made possible with a trio of WeMos D1 ESP8266 boards. The headbands act as clients, while the ball acts as a server and keeps track of how many times each speaker has broken the rules.

WiFi projects such as this one have become much easier in the past few years with the wide availability of chips like the ESP8266. Of course, if you need more grunt, you can always upgrade to the ESP32.

8 thoughts on “Better Debating Through Electronics

  1. Don’t talk while I’m interrupting!

    The people I’ve met who need this sort of thing would never accept it.

    Also it is entirely unnecessary for certain talented people. I know five sisters who all talk simultaneously, apparently carrying on several separate conversations on multiple topics. Nobody else can understand them at all, but they aren’t bothered in the least.

    It’s a very neat and attractive solution in search of a problem.

  2. This is one of the reasons why the written word is superior to the spoken one. No one interrupts any one else here at Hackaday. We all effectively take turns plus all of our comments are there, plain and clear, to read later rather than forgotten in the past like the noise we make when we talk. (assuming that what we wright gets past the sensors)

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