From our data being sold to Facebook, to Amazon’s Alexa speaker listening in on our daily conversations: most of us have resigned ourselves to being overheard. Ben Zhao is fighting back against this privacy infringement and has designed the “Bracelet of Silence”.
The ultrasonic bracelet was made to be capable of jamming microphones in smart speakers when standing near to them. The cyberpunk looking bracelet is almost like an anti-smart watch in that it stops technology monitoring you.
“The bracelet has 24 speakers that emit ultrasonic signals when the wearer turns it on. The sound is imperceptible to most ears, with the possible exception of young people and dogs, but nearby microphones will detect the high-frequency sound instead of other noises,” said Zhao, who is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Chicago.
The ring design of the bracelet allows for the jamming to work in multiple directions, this means you don’t have to direct your arm at the specific speaker and it could protect against any hidden microphones.
“Despite the initial excitement around voice-based smart devices, consumers are becoming increasingly nervous with the fact that these interactive devices are, by default, always listening, recording, and possibly saving sensitive personal information. Therefore, it is critical to build tools that protect users against the potential compromise or misuse of microphones in the age of voice-based smart devices,” said Zhao.
Image: Ben Zaho/ University of Chicago