Inspired by mother nature, the Alias project will allow you to regain control over your Google or Amazon connected speakers. No more wild listening!
Project Alias, a “parasitic fungus” for connected speakers
Nature has the wonderful thing that it knows how to invent incredibly original forms of life. Cordyceps fungi and viruses can thus parasitize a host insect to take control of it. The “zombified” insect is then forced to climb as high as the trees to allow its parasite to release its spores.
Project Alias is a technological imitation of this animal behavior. This small device created by Borek Karmann and designer Topp Tore Knudsen is placed on a Google Home or Amazon Alexa speaker to take advantage of its strengths to its benefit. The parasite thus aims to eliminate the excessive influence of American firms, as do the fungi that infest the most dominant species in nature.
DIY and open-source to the rescue of our private life
The most ardent privacy advocates recommend eliminating the use of connected speakers. When you see an Amazon Alexa speaker that broadcasts more than 1700 private conversations to the wrong person, you can only understand them!
Nevertheless, connected speakers can also serve more noble purposes, such as assisting people with reduced mobility who can then control various devices in their homes by voice.
Project Alias, therefore, aims to make the use of voice assistants more secure. To achieve this, the famous Raspberry Pi is once again in operation, coupled with two loudspeakers and a microphone grid. The equipment is housed in a 3D printed shell with a “mushroom-like” design.
The whole thing is positioned over a Google Home or Amazon Echo speaker.
Once activated, Project Alias emits a white noise that blurs the permanent listening of the speaker. To use a voice command, say the keyword – previously defined via smartphone – that disables Alias while the command is being spoken. The jamming then resumes ensuring privacy.
From concept to marketing, there would only be one step.
Do not look for Project Alias at any e-merchant. Unfortunately, it is just a concept. The sources are available on GitHub to reproduce it at home with the right equipment.
While the creators remain open to any partnership for future commercialization, they have announced that they have created Project Alias primarily to change attitudes. Connected speakers can bring more intelligence into our daily lives, but they must be well used.