You’ve heard the warnings about smart speakers, but it turns out Alexa isn’t the only thing in your home that’s capable of spying on you.
A team of developers has managed to turn a smart vacuum cleaner into a microphone that can record nearby conversations. The process, which they’ve called LidarPhone, works by adapting the LiDAR system used by robot hoovers for navigation, and converting it into a laser microphone.
This isn’t exactly new technology, in fact the technique was a popular tool for Cold War spies, who used to point lasers at the windows of people they were surveilling and decipher conversation through the vibrations on the glass.
Researchers from the University of Maryland and National University of Singapore applied the same idea to adapt the LiDAR system of a Xiaomi Roborock vacuum cleaner, and presented the concept for the first time at the ACM Conference on Embedded Networked Sensor Systems earlier this week.