Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

They are.

How so? Ultimately the mic is always on and listening for its keywords - if you look at the teardown of the Alexa on iFixIt, I don't even see any device other than the main CPU that would be capable of performing keyword recognition. Meaning the main CPU would have to be the thing then controlling the lights after the keywords are recognized...

The Google Home at least has a separate board with a microcontroller on it which could be used for keyword recognition, but I'm pretty sure they allow that to be updated for the sake of improving keyword recognition and there's no reason that an update couldn't disable the LEDs in the listen state as far as I can see.

Not a hardware guy, but couldn’t you tie the LEDs to whatever bus that connects the mic and the main CPU?

Yes, I don't mean to say it's impossible - just that you'd need an entirely isolated system to detect when data was flowing over that link which is physically connected in all cases and cannot be updated. I don't believe we see that in either the Alexa or Google Home, but I'd be happy to be mistaken if anyone's done a more in depth teardown of these systems.

And all of this is hinged on hoping you notice LEDs firing in the corner while you're having a conversation. Perhaps a more noticeable method should be used in cases like this. A forced "beep"/tone or something from an isolated circuit hardwired to the speakers.

As an alternate angle - Instead of trying to disable the light have it show the "I'm doing a software update" light pattern. I know I personally wouldn't give that a second glance

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact