Updated: Nov 23
The #tedx talk by the Imran Chaudhari the founder of Humane had built up some insane curiosity, a small, square device pinned to his chest.
Humane is unveiling its highly-anticipated high-tech gadget, the Ai Pin.
Designed to be worn on clothing, the Ai Pin aims to become as socially accepted as wireless earbuds or smartwatches, offering features that could potentially replace smartphones in the future.
The Ai Pin, set to release on November 16 in the US, combines various functionalities. It can capture photos, send texts, project a visual interface onto a person's palm using a laser, and features a virtual assistant comparable to ChatGPT.
By providing constant access to web search and communication capabilities, the Ai Pin aims to reduce dependency on smartphones.
The device starts at $699 in the US, with an additional $24 monthly fee for unlimited calling, texting, and data through T-Mobile. Pre-orders will begin shipping in early 2024.
The Ai Pin is among the first wave of wearable devices expected to launch in the coming months. These devices leverage AI services similar to ChatGPT, which already have over 100 million weekly users. Notably, renowned Apple designer Jony Ive is reportedly working on a competing product.
However, it remains uncertain whether these wearable devices can gain widespread acceptance or overcome scrutiny from fashion critics. While Humane's fan community eagerly awaits the release of the Ai Pin, experts in wearable hardware, including augmented reality glasses, view it as more of a novelty for tech enthusiasts rather than a device that will redefine personal technology norms.
Additionally, the question of whether the Ai Pin can truly help people live more in the present moment or simply contribute to an unhealthy obsession with technology remains unanswered.
Humane CEO Bethany Bongiorno is optimistic about the mass appeal of the Ai Pin, claiming it to be the world's first contextual computer. She believes that AI has piqued the curiosity of everyone, and Humane is offering the opportunity to bring it everywhere. The device has garnered interest from diverse backgrounds and age groups globally.
Humane was founded in 2018 by Bethany Bongiorno and Imran Chaudhri, former Apple employees with extensive experience in hardware design and software engineering. They set strict criteria for their product, aiming for a standalone device directly connected to the cellular network, transparent recording practices, and affordability.
The startup has secured $230 million in funding, including a $100 million investment announced earlier this year, valuing the company at $850 million. Notable investors include OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Microsoft, LG, Volvo, and Qualcomm.
The Ai Pin's design features a single piece of aluminum housing, resembling a brooch or a small tin. It is distinguishable from a distance and comes in three color options. The device attaches to clothing using a magnetic battery pack, weighing around 55 grams . Humane offers additional clip accessories for thicker clothing or bag straps, as well as protective cases called "shields."
Key features of the Ai Pin include an ultrawide camera, light and depth detectors, and a laser projector housed in its curved top section. The curve ensures that the camera points downward, accommodating different body shapes. A trust light indicates when the microphone or camera is active, and the device becomes inoperable if tampered with to prevent misuse.
The Ai Pin is controlled through taps, hand gestures, and voice commands. Users can snap photos with a double tap, record videos with a similar gesture (available in a future update), and activate the laser projection by tapping the device and moving the palm into its field of view. A voice assistant named Ai Mic, powered by large language models including ChatGPT, allows users to interact through voice commands.
While the Ai Pin initially offers web search, object identification, and voice assistance, Humane plans to add navigation, shopping capabilities, and open the device to developers for app development.
Running on Google's Android operating system, the Ai Pin offers customization options while maintaining compatibility with developers. Humane is excited about its partnership with Google and does not perceive any limitations due to the use of Android.
The Humane Ai Pin represents a significant leap in wearable technology. Its advanced features and potential to replace smartphones make it an intriguing product. However, its acceptance and long-term impact on society remain uncertain. Only time will tell if it can truly enhance human connection and redefine personal technology norms or if it will perpetuate an unhealthy relationship with technology.