Notes from readers like you. Page 06
As devices get smarter, they — and the companies that created them — gather more and more data about you, the user: what you like, where you go, even listening to and recording conversations around the house. It’s easy to gloss over how much data is getting stored in “the cloud” everyday without you knowing, but with a little effort, you don’t have to trade privacy for functionality.
In this issue of Make:, we address this head-on. We’ll show you how to set up your own DIY voice assistants using free and private tools that keep your data local while performing your favorite tasks. You can even run one on a Raspberry Pi! Then, configure a WebThings gateway from Mozilla to keep your IoT gadgets connected but private. And if you still can’t give up Alexa’s bells and whistles, at least consider assembling the Alias Privacy Parasite, which lets you decide when Alexa gets to listen in.
The issue also continues our Fix the Planet series with a set of guidelines on effective ways to electrify your cars and homes to slash your carbon output (and save you money along the way).
Plus, 17 exciting projects, including:
On the Cover: Keep your voice assistant and smart home data to yourself with private-by-design tools.
Notes from readers like you. Page 06
With ever-expanding layers of digital connectedness, privacy is increasingly an afterthought. Page 07
Backyard builds from around the globe.Page 08
Erase half your carbon footprint — just by electrifying your roof, your heat, and your wheels. Page 16
The do-it-all dynamo shares her start and her approach to a project.Page 22
With server shutdowns looming, a group of Pebble enthusiasts battled to keep their beloved smartwatches operational.Page 26
St. Louis’ City Museum is a hands-on, DIY wonderland for everyone.Page 32
Commercial voice assistants and smart homes log more personal data than you may realize. If you want ownership over your own info, you’ve got to DIY it.Page 36
Command your own voice assistant without Big Tech and data snoops listening in, using free and private tools.Page 38
Plop it on top of Alexa or Google assistants to block their eavesdropping and custom-command all their functions.Page Tore Knudsen and Bjorn Karmann
Keep your IoT gadgets private and your data safe with a DIY Mozilla WebThings gateway on a Raspberry Pi.Page 50
Open source and private, this voice assistant works great on a Raspberry Pi.Page 58
Keep clear from facial recognition algorithms with these methods. Page 62
Convert any bike to electric with an easy front wheel motor kit, then zip around practically carbon free.Page 64
3D-print a bright-sounding, go-anywhere acoustic violin, and experiment with instrument design. Page 72
Converting a Jet metal lathe to CNC with free software — and a few hardware misfires.Page 76
Help save the galaxy with this easy, pocket-sized Wookiee.Page 84
Carry this fully functional arcade machine anywhere in its integrated, foldable case.Page 86
Like its little-library cousin, a “give box” offers a spot to share and borrow items of all sorts.Page 92
Make your needlework come alive in awesome little movies!Page 98
Be prepared for solar eruptions and nuclear weapons with a DIY Faraday pouch to shield electronic gear. Page 102
Use zip ties and hot glue to add retro flare to anything in your home. Page 108
Use kombucha to make this versatile vegan textile in your kitchen. Page 110
Learn the options for transmitting movement in your mechanical projects.Page 116
Gear up with the latest tools and kits for makers. Page 122
An abandoned cement mixer becomes space age art in this unique piece of roadside Americana.Page 128