When a gun-wielding Eduardo Barros allegedly rounded on his girlfriend last week, authorities managed to intervene, to get the US woman and her infant daughter out of harm’s way before the worst could occur.
But it wasn’t her who dialled emergency services. It wasn’t even neighbours, or a passer-by. It was a smart home device.
According to a statement released by the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the device may have been an Amazon Alexa-enabled product.
Using voice commands, the various Alexa devices are capable of controlling things around the home, including lighting, electronics and air-conditioning. But also of making hands-free telephone calls.
So when Barros, who was house-sitting at the smart home-equipped residence in Tijeras, New Mexico, yelled at his partner, “Did you call the sheriffs?”, it’s believed the device picked up the final three words.
And it obeyed.