Sat. Jan 18th, 2020

Microsoft research found that smart speaker products have the ability to scan a room and use the echoes to create images of a room

2 min read

Microsoft Research is investigating the array of smart speakers and common speaker microphones that use beamforming to direct sound to a specific location.

This allows researchers to use this technology to create virtual headsets with remote speakers for virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance the user experience.

Interestingly, Microsoft Research found that if the speaker is capable of ultrasound, it can use the beam to scan the room and use the echo to construct an image of the room.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft Research wrote in a blog

“Similar to how bats and dolphins use echolocation, we are researching the use of beamforming in the ultrasound band to construct images of objects. We can focus the sound by using a loudspeaker array facing a given direction, listen with the microphone array towards the same direction, and capture the reflections from objects in this direction. By scanning the space, we can construct an image of the objects in front of this ultrasound sensing device. The short wavelength of ultrasound allows detection of even small objects. This low-energy-using ultrasound probing device can generate three types of images: reflection, distance, and Doppler, making it possible to use in body position retrieval or gesture recognition applications.”

According to the progress of Microsoft’s technology research, smart speakers can be used to detect room scans and several people even analyze user conversations.

It is still unclear whether companies have used smart speakers to monitor user conversations, but the security of smart speaker Internet of Things products is relatively poor.

If it is attacked, it is obvious that the smart speaker will become a privacy killer in the user’s home. What you say is likely to be monitored by the smart speaker.

It is completely unnecessary for the user to purchase such a product if it is not particularly necessary. It is equivalent to selling the device that monitors the sound at home.