Project Alias ​​Smart Home "Parasite" is The Anti-Alexa


Another CES has just passed us by and we have another chance to look at trends in consumer electronics. And while this is a new trend, people are absolutely onboard with talking to their technology. Loads of products are advertised by hyping up their integration with digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home. We all can wait to live in our connected, smart home, Internet of Things future.

But at what cost! These connected devices are owned by tech giants like Google and Amazon that have proven time and time again that they gain our privacy in the way of their profits. Jeff Bezos can't keep his sex secrets secret, do you really want his devices constantly listening to just changing the blinds or using a mirror a little easier?

Fortunately, there is now a way to enjoy the benefits of voice assistants without making yourself vulnerable to corporate whims. Project Alias ​​is a tech "parasite" for pacifying your smart speakers.

The brainchild of designer Bjørn Karmann, Project Alias ​​is a little mushroom-looking thing you like on top of a product like Alexa. That resemblance to fungus is intentional as the device was inspired by parasitic fungi that hijack hosts for their own ends. But instead of a Last of Us situation where the parasite causes a zombie outbreak, this parasite makes smart assistant much more secure.

Basically, Project Alias ​​produces a white noise that prevents the speaker from constantly, passively listening to you. Project Alias ​​then its own microphone and Raspberry Pi brain to list for your voice and control the assistant whenever you choose to activate it. Once you're done, it's back to the white noise. You might as well know as the assistant knows. Project Alias ​​even responds to custom names and learns your voice over time to make sure you never accidentally let your devices list in when you don’t want them.

Making smart assistants less invasive in this era of rampant surveillance technology is a public good, frankly. And thankfully Karmann seems to be able to freely download the 3D printing building instructions and GitHub code for Project Alias ​​to theoretically make one yourself. That way, you can also make sure this new smart assistant is just stopping one device from snooping on you so it can then snoop on you instead. Next, can we make something that kicks out Amazon out of Queens?

For more on brass with voice assistants check out these whisper hacks for Alexa and Siri and learn how an ultrasound firewall can protect your devices from audio attacks.

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