Humane Ai Pin Marks the Beginning of the End of  Smartphones 

Ambient computing is here. Instead of peering into your phones, Humane's Ai Pin lets you take pictures and do everything a phone does hands free.

Humane Ai recently released a demo video of their Ai Pin, which is expected to launch on November 16, 2023 for US customers, and most likely to follow global customers, starting next year, priced at $699 (INR 58K).

The device strikingly resembles Star Trek’s  insignia badge that is used for communication. It has no screen, and users can interact with it using voice, touchpad, gestures, or by holding up objects in front of it to capture. It also has a laser projector that can display text on your hand.

“We were able to pack a lot of technology into something really small. AI can create an experience that allows the computer to essentially take a back seat” said Chaudhari in the demo video

The $24 per month subscription plan includes a dedicated phone number, and it works independently without needing a phone, paving the way for what is known as, ambient computing. 

“Ai Pin is the embodiment of our vision to integrate AI into the fabric of daily life, enhancing our capabilities without overshadowing our humanity,” the founders said during the release. 

Founded in 2018 by former Apple employees and innovators Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, Humane looks to remove the barrier of communications and engage seamlessly. 

Chaudhri has spent more than 20 years helping build the Mac, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone and has more than thousand patents to his name. Bongiorno has led teams as a Director of Software Engineering at Apple during her eight year tenure. 

Change is coming…

Many believe that a Humane Ai Pin would make smartphones redundant soon. “This is blowing my mind. Just the kind of wearable that would get me off of many phone for a while. This is going to change the game,” said one of the users on YouTube, who goes by the name, docmantis9863

The former employees of a company that manufactured iPhones said the goal was to recreate the functionality of the iPhone without the addictive elements, such as the dopamine effect from refreshing a Facebook feed or swiping to view TikTok videos. Ken Kocienda, Humane’s head of product engineering, said, “It’s more of a pull than pushing content at you in the way iPhones do.” 

The Humane Ai Pin is a device equipped with a camera, motion sensors, depth sensors, and a microphone, allowing it to record surroundings and respond to voice commands. It also features a ‘personic speaker’ and supports Bluetooth headphones. 

It lacks a traditional screen and compensates for it with a projector that displays

green-coloured content on the user’s hand, as demonstrated in the video release. The device includes a touchpad on the smartphone and requires physical activation of the voice assistant with a button.

The operating system, Cosmos, focuses on security, intelligent technology, and a user-friendly interface. 

The unique two-piece design offers a choice in 3 colours, with wireless and magnetic attachment options. “The device is powered by a Snapdragon CPU and Qualcomm AI Engine, the Ai Pin provides quick and reliable performance for AI interactions,” explained Chaudhari.

Bongiorno emphasised in the demo video that privacy is the priority. The device lights up only when prompted by the user with voice or tap commands. The Trust Light blinks during audio or video recording, and recorded content is accessible on Bongiorno clarified that, “If the device is being tampered with physically, the Ai Pin shuts down, and can only be restored by Humane.” 

First impression

The brooch-like device was seen worn by Naomi Campbell on the ramp of Paris Fashion Week at the end of last month. The clever marketing campaign piqued interest in the device but, “What does it really do?” is the question users on social media are asking

The internet has seen mixed reactions to this new technology from its users. While some were impressed with the new approach of the device and its integration with multiple AI tools.

Some were not impressed and X users were quick to point out the multiple errors spouted by the pin in the demo video. Gary Marcus posed the question, “One key question, aside from the use case questions many have rightly raised, is how reliable the AI underneath is.” Hallucinations have been a persistent issue dogging AI and it occurs in every device it inhabits. 

The comparisons to the efficiency of current smartphones seem a little unfair as this is only the first iteration of the product. Humane AI will see further versions of their device as they’re getting major investments from Microsoft, Sam Altman and are the recipients of a generous $230 million in 4 rounds of funding

Altman said in an interview that being the first AI device is no guarantee of success. “That will be up to customers to decide. Maybe it’s a bridge too far or maybe people will like it better than their phones,” he said. 

K L Krithika
K L Krithika is a tech journalist at AIM. Apart from writing tech news, she enjoys reading sci-fi and pondering the impossible technologies while trying not to confuse it with the strides technology achieves in real life.

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