New Anti-spy Bracelet Design to Suppress Microphones and Listening Devices

  • The device is quite simple and emits ultrasonic "white noise."
  • The researchers came up with the idea to take advantage of the natural movement of the hands during a conversation, while walking or gesticulating.
  • A bracelet would have a myriad of applications, including home use.

US Engineers and researchers developed a new means of ensuring privacy in the 21st century, which is saturated with technological threats, on the eve of the Chi Conference On Human Factors in Computing Systems 2020, which will take place in Hawaii on April  25-30. The ACM CHI Conference is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of human–computer interaction and is one of the top ranked conferences in computer science.

The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference of Human-Computer Interaction. CHI  – pronounced ‘kai’ – is a place where researchers and practitioners gather from across the world to discuss the latest in interactive technology.  Originally, the conference started in the 1982.

The event will include a report on the results of the work, and at the moment a publication describing the creation and testing of the technology just became available.

The device is quite simple and emits ultrasonic “white noise” (uniform “littering” of the entire frequency range used). The vast majority of microphones used in consumer electronics are able to perceive and amplify it due to their design features. Thus, the frequencies that are inaudible to the human ear for gadgets turn into a constant hiss that completely covers speech.

The use of ultrasound to suppress eavesdropping devices has been used for a long time and there are many “anti-spyware” solutions on the market that are based on this principle. However, University of Chicago researchers designed a system that uses the movements of the human body to cover the “dead zones” of the device. The fact is that serial products use one or more emitters, which one way or another need to be directed towards the microphone.

But what if there are more listening devices than interference installers or their location is unknown? The researchers have come up with the idea to take advantage of the natural movement of the hands during a conversation, while walking or gesticulating when talking. Many emitters moving in space overlap each other’s directional patterns and thus significantly increase the efficiency of the entire device.

The bracelet would have a myriad of applications, including home use. Take for instance Alexa, which is a cloud-based voice service available on more than 100 million devices from Amazon and third-party device manufacturers. With Alexa, you can build natural voice experiences that offer customers a more intuitive way to interact with the technology they use every day.  The technology allows companies to record the voice around the house and also gathers information. Hence, the bracelet can aid in maintaining privacy within a home. It is an innovative device and a very useful tool for salvaging privacy, as these days privacy is becoming obsolete.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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