Alias is a teachable “parasite” designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both in terms of customisation and privacy. Using a simple app, users can train Alias to react to a custom wake word and, once trained, it can take control of the home assistant by activating it for users. Until Alias is activated with the custom wake word it makes sure that the assistant is inactive and unable to listen by interrupting the microphones. In this way, Alias acts as a connecting element that is able to communicate with the smart assistant and manipulate it when placed on top of it. As Alias is equipped with a Raspberry Pi that operates locally for detection of the wake word this process is disconnected from the internet. This project demonstrates how Maker Culture and Open Source can be used not only to redefine our relationships with smart home technologies but also to transfer power and control from companies to end users.
This project is co-funded by the European Commission’s DG CONNECT, in the framework of the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union under the S+T+ARTS programme’s Regional STARTS Centers.
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 732019. This publication (communication) reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.