Hypersonic Speech Jammer Works At A Distance

Speech jammers were a meme a little while back. By feeding back delayed voice audio to a person’s ears, it makes it near-impossible for most people to speak, as our speech system runs on a continual feedback loop. [Benn Jordan] decided to try reworking that concept by replacing headphones with a directed sound projector.

The key to the project is the use of hypersonic sound arrays. These essentially use high-frequency sound beyond the human range of hearing to carry a lower-frequency sound signal. By essentially modulating this higher-frequency carrier to create the perception of lower-frequency sound, it’s possible to create an audible signal that is highly directional. It’s like a “sound laser” that can be pointed directly at a person to allow them to hear it, which is then inaudible when pointed slightly away.

These allow the delayed voice signal to be fired at a person’s head with a relatively narrow spatial spread. When an individual speaks into a microphone hooked up to the device, delayed audio is sent through the hypersonic array back to the speaker’s ears, garbling their speech as their brain gets confused by the feedback.

[Benn] demonstrated the device in public by offering random individuals $100 to read a paragraph out of a book. The speech jammer worked a treat, and [Benn] was able to keep his money… until one amazingly immune individual breezed through the test. Check out our prior coverage of speech jamming technology. Video after the break.

[Thanks to Hyperific for the tip!]

19 thoughts on “Hypersonic Speech Jammer Works At A Distance

  1. Being deaf does have some perk. I can still speak decently with hearing aids turned off so I guess those speech jammer may not work on me.

    I was born nearly profoundly deaf (hearing loss at 100dB at low frequency to 125dB at 3KHz, nothing above 3KHz) and with early education program and hearing aids I was able to learn to speak. The drawback of being deaf at my level is I can’t just listen to the sound and know what’s being spoken so radio, telephone, and other long distance conversation falls on my deaf ears (literal not proverbial). Because of this, sound jammer would seem to sound like gibberish to my ears and not interfere with my ability to read and speak.

      1. To be fair, that would also be pretty effective at preventing speech. 😃

        (Aside: isn’t the principle of this ultrasonic (not hypersonic) device similar to the method used by Lex Luthor in Superman 1 when he broadcast a message that only Superman could hear?)

    1. I probably missed the cultural reference -if you’re making a joke-, but hypersonic is a field of engineering in which audible sound is generated using the interference of several supersonic waves.

    1. I’ve seen some videos of people interacting with speech jammers, the ones with a lot of broadcast radio experience (people who routinely wear headphones and listen to themselves) are essentially immune to the jamming.

  2. This is not new technology as “conspiracy theorists” will tell you. Think of Bose noise cancellation or the dual microphone setup you can see in The Grateful Dead Movie.

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