There have always been concerns about smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home, listening to your private conversations at home or offices, all the time.
So, here is an open-source hardware project for all the privacy-concerned folks out there, to prevent smart assistants from listening in on your speech. (Via: Fast Company)
The device, called Alias, is an always-listening speaker, that is designed to fits on top of an Amazon Echo or Google Home. It constantly creates white noise to prevent smart speakers from capturing any audio.
Project Alias looks like a mass of molten wax and is composed of a Raspberry Pi, mic array, and two speakers, altogether covered by a 3D-printed top layer.
To “stay off the grid,” Alias connects to the internet during the initial setup process only. In this way, it prevents your conversations from leaving the device.
Whenever Alias hears its own wake word, it stops creating the white noise and quietly wakes up Alexa or Google Assistant by playing “Alexa” or “OK Google” over its internal speaker.
Following which you can use your smart speakers the way you do usually. The best part is that instead of calling the speaker Alexa or Google, you can customize it with your own unique wake word, like Steve or The Rock.
Although there is an option to mute Alexa or Google Assitant while having a private conversation around it, but Project Alias is much better as it gives you the same benefit along with the ability to use them hands-free whenever you want to.
However, it should be noted that Alias cannot stop Google or Amazon from recording the voice commands you enter while interacting with the speakers.
According to the developer’s note on GitHub, the project is still under development. Also, being a Raspberry Pi project, you cannot buy the Project Alias as of now and it’d require some extent of DIY hack to set it up.