Alias is a teachable “parasite” that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customization and privacy. Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you. When you don’t use it, Alias will make sure the assistant is paralyzed and unable to listen by interrupting its microphones.
Our relationship with technology is formed from how we interact with it. However, commercial smart products for the home tend to treat the user as passive consumers. Especially smart-home assistance has shown design patterns that limit the possibilities of interaction and agency from the user perspective, even in the most private and personal sphere; the home.
Equipped with speakers and a microphone, Alias can communicate and manipulate the home assistant when placed on top of it. The speakers of Alias are used to interrupt the assistance with a constant low noise/sound that feeds directly into the microphone of the assistant. When Alias recognizes the user-created wake-word, it stops the noise and quietly activates the assistant with a sound recording of the original wake-word.
The way Alias manipulates the home assistance allows to create new custom functionalities and commands that the products were not originally intended for. Alias can be programmed to send any speech commands to the assistant’s speakers, which leaves us with a lot of new possibilities.