Smart speakers such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home have garnered negative criticism for eavesdropping on people’s conversation. These devices randomly start recording for short bursts of time and send it back to their companies. But these aren’t the only devices guilty of privacy invasion. Even your smartphones, such as iPhones, record and send short snippets of conversations back to Apple for analysis.
In short, there are multiple devices that we interact with every day that can record you and your private conversations. But researches at the University of Chicago have built a bracelet that is capable of jamming microphones inside speakers and devices.
The bracelet uses “ultrasonic broadcasts from 24 speakers to jam most microphones, no matter what direction they’re in.” According to Engadget, “it eliminates blind spots (where transducers cancel each other out) through your wrist movement. As a result, it’s more effective than dedicated stationary jammers and can even scramble hidden mics.”
The device won’t be released anytime soon, as its just a working prototype. However, it is estimated that someone could build this by themselves for around $20.
Having a device like this has benefits for someone who fears to eavesdrop. However, there concerns in wearing this out in public. It could create a problem with phone calls and devices with mics unintentionally. It could also be used maliciously to stop all forms of voice recording, thus avoiding accountability. Whether the device’s range and jamming abilities could be controlled are unknown.