Annoying Mosquito: Anti-Teen Sonic Device Arrives in US
Almost 1,000 units of the device, called the Mosquito, have been sold in the United States and Canada after the product debuted last year, according to Daniel Santell, the North America importer of the device sold under the company name Kids Be Gone.
The high-frequency sound has been likened to fingernails dragged across a chalkboard or a pesky mosquito buzzing in your ear. It can be heard by most people in their teens and early 20s who still have sensitive hair cells in their inner ears. Whether you can hear the noise depends on how much your hearing has deteriorated: How loud you blast your iPod, for example, could affect your ability to detect it.
"It's horrible, loud and irritating," said Eddie Holder, 15, who sprinted from his apartment for school one morning covering one ear with his hand to block out the noise. The device was installed outside the building to drive away loiterers. "I have to hurry out of the building because it's so annoying. It's this screeching sound that you have to get away from or it will drive you crazy."
The device has roiled civil liberties groups in countries where it's in use, including England, Australia and Scotland. England's government-appointed Children's Commission proposed a ban. That group describes it as a weapon that infringes on the basic rights of young people and claims that it could have unknown long-term health effects.
I say "supposedly" because I'm not sure that mobile phones' tinny speakers could adequately transmit such a frequency; even still, the teens have pulled off an even larger coup: making teachers believe that there are inaudible ringtones permeating their classrooms. Good for them, I say, as they grow up in a world of CCTV and audio crowd-control devices.
(I was pointed to the CNN story via boingboing)