Voice assistant no longer able to listen in


Horw LU – Researchers at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts are developing a new voice assistant. Unlike other devices, it works without an internet connection and does not listen in continuously. Rather than the microphone, researchers are basing their technology on sensors.


A research group in the iHomeLab at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts (HSLU) aims to develop an innovative voice assistant through their “Bodyguard” project. This will not always be listening in on what the user is saying, which is how most smart speakers work. While certain activation words must be said for them to wake up and begin processing and transmitting data to the cloud and over the internet, they can be taken over by hackers. This means sensitive data could land online.


The device being created by HSLU researchers will work without the microphone always listening in or an internet connection. It is not activated through certain words but by sensors. Sensors initiate contact with the user in predefined situations. The microphones for voice input are activated for a short time only for the duration of the current dialog.


“We are convinced that the future belongs to speech-controlled and intelligent systems. With this project, we want to go a step further and develop a system that can meet the highest standards in terms of security, data protection and privacy,” HSLU reported.


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