Wearable Microphone Jammer



    • With the increased prevalence of smart devices that monitor speech, such as Alexa and Google Assistant, microphone jamming has become an area of increasing consumer interest. However, current jammers require users to point the jammer in the direction of the microphone, which limits their utility since the location of a smart device is not always known.
    • UChicago inventors have created a wearable device that jams microphones at any angle within the wearer's vicinity. 
    • The jammer prototype is circular bracelet of ultrasonic transducers that emit signals that are silent to the human ear and harnesses the user's non-verbal cues while speaking to increase coverage of the acoustic signal and diminish blind spots.
    • When a microphone is outside the effective angle of a current jammers, the word error rate (WER) is only about 26%. With the wearable jammer worn in trials with speakers using natural gestures, the WER of the microphone is above 87%. Furthermore, even when the wearable jammer is held static, the WER is 40-60%.




    Speech recognition with no jamming (A). Speech recognition with the wearable jammer turned on (B). The wearable jammer has a word error rate (WER) of above 87% regardless of the position of the microphone (blue trace). Comparatively, a jammer with a planar transducer layout (black trace) or a commercially available jammer (gray trace) have significant drop offs in WER depending on orientation (C).



    • Wearable design is portable, discreet, and harnesses natural gestures during speech to reduce blind spots
    • Curved transducer layout further decreases blind spots
    • Proximity to the user prevents the separation of the speaker’s voice and the jammer



    • Wearable consumer products
    • Defense systems






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