Voice assistants are already everywhere. With Amazon leading the pack. While still a bit gimmicky, their influence and capabilities are only growing. But most of us are not aware of the fact that they are always listening. In order to process our language their microphones are always on. So we’re not in control of what parts of our lives are recorded, stored and analyzed. A privacy issue and a technical dilemma that needed to be explored and tackled head-on.
What about an Alexa, that is only listening when needed – and not, when not? What if there would be a physical barrier around Alexa? And what if this cage would only be opened and closed by a second voice recognition? One that’s independently working offline – and therefore is out of Amazon’s and others’ reach? A simple idea – far from easy to bring to life.
After more than a dozen different approaches and many, many more prototypes we finally found a non-intrusive way to handle and defeat all of Alexa’s eight military-grade microphones. Alexa Cage is only opened at the users clear intent and shuts autonomously after usage. So your privacy is also protected in times you forget about her being there. We happily share every technical detail with anybody wanting to rebuild Alexa Cage themselves. But if it's just you now being aware of this wicked problem, we consider this job well done.