Researchers at the University of Chicago created a prototype for a bangle that jams Alexa devices, according to the New York Times. The bangle uses ultrasound to effectively jam any nearby microphones, which means it works even if it's covered with clothing. The “bracelet of silence” would allow people to navigate spaces with their privacy intact. But it's tentacle-like design means that while it may silence Alexa, there's a good chance wearers will get an earful of laughter from any humans in their immediate vicinity.
Function over form — Hole clusters are the new black in tech, but even if you’re not trypophobic, the arrangement of ultrasonic transducers on this bracelet is unsettling. The layout is meant to provide omnidirectional protection from “always-on” smart assistants, which is great, but it still looks like you've wrapped a bit of cephalopod around your wrist.
The researches behind the bangle says the frequency it emits is only audible to some young people and dogs (so they won't be snooping on you, either), but should turn any digital recordings into static noise.
The prototype has been refined to minimize the number of transducer “spikes” required for it to work, but the size of the bangle is still comical — it wouldn’t even fit into a Zenon movie.
Bigger isn't always better — If anyone wants me to wear a bangle this large, it better also be a flask. Many wristables have erred on the large size, especially in their early iterations. This tends to create problems for those with thinner wrists, which more often that not means women. So hopefully version two will be a little more svelte.
The team behind the bangle believes it can eventually sell it for about $20, but even with that sort of price point I fear it's going to struggle to find buyers. I'm all for novel defenses against snooping tech, but I still want them to be aesthetically pleasing.