May 122006

Have you morphed from a jovial party-animal to a cranky old party-pooper? Was it you that called the police at 2am to complain about the noise from your neighbour’s kid’s 18th? Or are you just tired of gangs of pimply youths hanging around outside your shop, wrestling and blocking the footpath?

Here’s a gadget to warm the hearts of the anti-teen brigade everywhere.

Welsh inventor and cranky old party-pooper Howard Stapleton solved the problem of rowdy teenagers for a local shopkeeper in 2005 with a device called The Mosquito which sends out a high-frequency sound that can be heard within a range of about 15 to 20 metres by most people under 20 and hardly anyone over 30.

Stapleton tested the device on his children before coming up with the perfect pitch – a pulsing tone broadcast at 75 decibels designed to irritate young people so much that they move away from the area after a few minutes.

The shopkeeper was delighted with the results on local troublesome teens and was quoted saying – “It’s very difficult to shoplift when you have your fingers in your ears.”

Now marketed by UK company Compound Security Devices, the device takes advantage of a phenomenon called ‘presbycusis’ – age related hearing loss. From the age of about 18, all humans slowly lose their ability to hear upper-frequency sounds.

Unfortunately the spread of the iPod may render the Mosquito ineffective – studies have shown that some 18 year olds have hearing loss equivalent to that of the average 60 year old following years of listening to personal stereos at too-high volumes.

Bottom Line: Unleash your inner party-pooper
Price: about Au $1350