fribo takes one technological step back and two privacy-respecting steps forward

fribo takes one technological step back and two privacy-respecting steps forward

less people are getting married. more people are living alone. the definition of privacy has slithered out from under us. it is the most connected of times; it is the least connected of times. the baby name alexa has whole new connotations. amidst all of this noise — a studio-ghbili-looking fribo pays close attention to the sounds we tune-out.

image courtesy of yonsei university & KAIST via IEEE Spectrum



korean researchers designed fribo — rather, fibros, plural — to balance connectivity with privacy. these cuter, lo-fi home-solutions connect us the way alexas might, but unlike amazon’s, google’s, etceteras’ home devices, fribos aren’t programmed to listen to everything you say in the confines of your own home.

image courtesy of yonsei university & KAIST



cute fibros have good attentions. fibros were programmed to listen to the sound of a door opening, a knock knock on a countertop — tiny, otherwise useless sounds. once a fibro here’s a door open at your friend’s house, your connected fibro lets you know that a friend has come home. ‘oho!’ says fribo. ‘your friend opened the front door. did someone just come home?’ its cute shifting eyes leave you unaware of who exactly has come home — that’s the genius of fibros’ privacy balancing act. other sounds like clapping and knocking are then utilized to initiate a conversation with your specific friend. it’s a lot of hoops to jump through, but maybe in this age of instant connectivity, we should be working a little more to keep up with those relationships we most cherish.

image courtesy of yonsei university & KAIST

image courtesy of yonsei university & KAIST



project info:


collaborators: chan mi park, yuin jeong, kwangmin jeong, hae-sung lee, jeehang lee, jinwoo kim, member of ACM

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