Pozio is a set of devices that puts earmuffs on your smart assistant. We’re only covering the Pozio Shield today, as the larger stand up blocker/speaker on the website called the Pozio Cradle is not out yet for testing. Embargo on reviews has lifted.
I’ve had a pre-production version of this for going on four months now (I think November 3rd, 2021 will be month four for me,) and have had a chance to play with a couple of units.
For purposes of this review I’m using a third gen Amazon Echo that’s been renamed to Ziggy. If you’ve got a Ziggy in earshot, I suggest turning it off as I’m probably going to trigger it again and again in the video.
The Pozio Shield is pretty simple – you plug it in, place a smart speaker in it, and the Shield directs inaudible junk audio at the microphone (Google Home Mini, Amazon Echo Dot, similar sized third party devices possibly,) so that your device can’t really hear anything while the Pozio Shield is active. You can turn the Pozio device off by saying “Pozio Stop” (or pressing the button,) and it stops blocking the audio. You can then trigger your Alexa, Google Home, etc with their standard trigger words for a period of time (seems like about 30 seconds,) and that time is long enough to generally include a follow up question.
The Pozio device is not “smart,” does not connect to the internet, has no WiFi capabilities, no apps, it’s just a microphone, some LED lights, a speaker, and a logic board that recognizes most pronunciations of “Pozio Stop” you can throw at it. I threw every accent, drawl, etc at it and it got everything except for my Groundskeeper Willy attempt.
I’ve been using this for several months with my Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dot and it does what it says, there’ve been no accidental wakeups, and believe me I attempted several intentional “accidental” wakeups. The unit videoed I’ve managed to have it not hear me about five times. I usually am activating in a fairly loud room at about 12 feet away, so I consider that a pretty decent track record.
The Pozio Shield is currently about to hit Kickstarter, looks like one week to go.
Paul finds something to complain about
There are two things I feel this device really needs to make it just a bit better. The first being a pass-through power system (currently you’ve got to have a power supply for the Pozio, and your assistant of choice. This means two cords, and I’m pretty sure with about $3 in parts we could probably skim a little power from the assistant’s power supply. Alternately perhaps put some USB power outlets on the side. Basically I have little space and very few electrical outlets in a 1940’s house.
The second I would like to see is something with the pole space. Two little plastic hooks on it you could wrap up the excess wiring. A small hoop attachment could hold a phone or pens. You could have 3 or 4 USB outlets there. There’s just space back there that I feel needs to be exploited. Maybe even the ability to use the dock in an outlet similar to the Google Mini holder we reviewed a while ago. I also have very little space.
I would also love the ability to set my own timer length and have an option where it doesn’t activate until you ask it to again (an “earmuffs on!” command,) but honestly it seems almost perfect as it is.
Everything needs to be many things in the e-gadget world in my opinion, but then again, opinions are just that. Opinions.
Oh yeah, one other thing – having this running disables your assistant from hearing glass breaking and fire alarms. So remember if you’re using that feature you’ll want to come up with some way to disable the Pozio while you’re out (smart outlet, pulling the plug, etc).
Do you need it?
Oh this one is easy – no. You can get rid of your devices, turn them off until you’re needing to use them, yadda yadda yadda… the Pozio Shield just offers the convenience of their being on, connected, but muted by a third party device that can’t be hacked, rooted, remote exploited, or worked around.
I mean, I suppose it’s possible someone could break into your smart speaker, listen to the garbage audio it’s being fed by the Pozio Shield, and filter that out, but that’s a whole ‘nother level of hacker than I believe is currently after you and not government-directed.
It’s neat, it works, you decide if you want it and think making your assistant deaf when it’s not needed is for you.
I dig it and like the idea.
Raise the Pozio Shield
The Pozio Shield will be on Kickstarter in a week at which time I imagine pricing will be around. In the meantime you can visit their website, and get the link to the Kickstarter when it goes live.