amazon echo
A report reveals that Amazon is working on new wireless headphones that will rival the AirPods, and a bulkier Echo with a woofer and high-quality speaker. Amazon

Amazon had a great holiday season selling Alexa-powered devices, but it’s not done pushing the gadgets to consumers. The company is set to advertise the Alexa gadgets during the Super Bowl on Sunday -- and those ads probably won't accidently trigger users' Alexa devices.

Amazon released its Super Bowl commercial this week on YouTube, which garnered millions of views. The one and a half minute clip features Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, renowned chef Gordon Ramsay, Rebel Wilson, Anthony Hopkins and Cardi B. The commercial is about Alexa losing her voice while users ask her questions. Instead, Alexa is replaced by voices of celebrities.

Throughout the commercial, “Alexa” is mentioned numerous times. The mention of Alexa could be annoying for users who have had to deal with TV ads accidentally triggering their device’s response.

However, users shouldn't have to go through that problem this Sunday. An Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg, without revealing much more information, that: “We do alter our Alexa advertisements ... to minimize Echo devices falsely responding in customer’s homes.”

Amazon has been looking into how to prevent accidental Alexa triggers for years. A patent filed in September 2014 titled “Audible command filtering” looks into avoiding accidental activations of Alexa.

The patent specifically mentions the problem of having Alexa triggers during sports events, like the Super Bowl:

“The people with devices that react to the wake word may experience their devices inadvertently waking up and potentially executing commands following the wake word thereby interfering with the television watching experience. Further, if the advertisement is shown as part of a broadcast watched by a large population (such as during a popular sporting event), the advertisement may result in many devices “waking up” at the same time.”

The patent offered two approaches to avoiding accidental triggers. One of them was transmitting clips of a commercial to devices before it airs. After that, the gadgets would be able to compare live commands to the commercial snippet. Another method to avoid Alexa activations is by having the ad itself send an inaudible acoustic sound that tells the voice assistant to ignore the trigger.

Amazon Alexa
Mike George, VP Alexa, Echo and Appstore for Amazon, speaks during the LG press conference at CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 4, 2017. Reuters/Rick Wilking

Alexa’s refusal of activating during commercials seems to be working with the latter method, according to Reddit user.

The Reddit user, under the name Aspyhackr, analyzed Alexa commercials and found the clips transmitted weakened levels of sound in an upper range of the audio spectrum.

The user explained in a post:

“I did a little research tonight and found that the Echo, while it’s processing the wake word, searches the Audio Spectrum and if is significantly quieter in the area of 4000hz to 5000hz, she will not wake for the word. I achieved this by going on YouTube, and playing with a voice recording of the name in Audacity.

I found that when I analyzed the spectrum of them saying her name, the spectrums were significantly quieter in the range of 3000hz to 6000hz. In some of those recordings, those frequencies appeared to be non-existent. In others it appeared like the boosted the surrounding frequencies to make the Echo see a gap in the spectrum.”

Amazon’s work in addressing the problem means the funny Alexa ad could possibly be telling the device to ignore the command.