Humane, the secretive AI startup founded by ex-Apple executives back in 2018, is finally preparing to launch its first product. It’s called the Humane Ai Pin, and it's aimed at making portable screens a thing of the past — or at least much less a part of your day-to-day life.
The wearable will be a “new type of standalone device with a software platform that harnesses the power of AI to enable innovative personal computing experiences,” the company says.
We already got an early look at the then-unnamed device back in April when Humane President (and Apple’s former director of design on the human interface team) Imran Chaudhri delivered a TED talk showcasing a prototype, but it turns out the first version will arrive this year.
Specifics are still extremely thin on the ground, and it looks like Humane will drip-feed details from now until release day, but here’s everything we know so far. We’ll be sure to update this page as more details emerge.
Humane Ai Pin availability
While no pricing or specific release date for the Humane Ai Pin has been revealed, the press release confirming the name did at least give us a launch window of “later this year”.
Assuming there are no unexpected delays, that gives us a six-month window — though we’d be extremely surprised if it arrived too long before the end of the year, as Humane probably wants to refine it and build excitement before go-time. With that in mind, we’d expect it at some point between October and December — assuming it doesn't slip into 2024.
If you want to be first in line to pre-order, the official site has a waitlist for “priority access” that you can sign up to today.
Humane Ai Pin design
The press release describes the Humane AI Pin as a “clothing-based wearable” and that’s how it appeared in Chaudhri’s TED talk, embedded in full below.
The image on the Humane homepage, captured at the top of the page, looks slightly less wide than the prototype in the video, which appears to tuck into a pocket on Chaudhri’s jacket. The name "Pin" suggests the final version will clip onto any item of clothing.
It’s designed to be invisible, though: a small Star Trek-like communicator that only comes into life and lights up when spoken to or tapped.
There’s no screen, but it’s apparently capable of projecting text and images, as Chaudhri demonstrated at the TED talk when he answered a call from Bethany Bongiorno (Humane’s CEO and Chaudhri’s wife).
Instead, all interactions will occur via your voice, as if you have Google Assistant or Alexa perpetually pinned to your chest. Though Humane is keen to show that the Ai Pin is considerably more flexible than the current generation of virtual assistants.
Humane Ai Pin features
Beyond answering calls, it looks like the Humane Ai Pin will try to streamline a number of other smartphone functions via your voice, interpreted in real-time by artificial intelligence.
“The connected and intelligent clothing-based wearable device uses a range of sensors that enable contextual and ambient compute interactions,” the company says, and we saw a range of these in the TED talk embedded above.
Functionality ranges from diary management…
"Catch me up," a summary of crucial information you may have missed while you were busy, on @humane's device. pic.twitter.com/AAIfh2ChfmApril 21, 2023
…to on-the-fly translations…
The @Humane wearable doing English->French AI translation in your own voice... wow. (SOUND ON)Video credit @ZarifAli9 Read the exclusive on the Humane wearable's features: https://t.co/TYRmtYPSYI pic.twitter.com/cmAWEU8DFSApril 21, 2023
…to dietary recommendations via an embedded camera that can scan product labels.
@humane's device helping you decide what you can and cannot eat based on knowing your preferences and dietary restrictions. pic.twitter.com/PFwEAsNxDIApril 21, 2023
No doubt this is only scratching the surface, and more functionality will be revealed over the coming days and months.
Humane Ai Pin specifications
Like much of the Humane AI Pin’s functionality, what’s powering it isn’t public just yet. What we do know, however, is that the smartphone chip giant Qualcomm is involved.
“Humane is collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. for this unique device and form factor,” Humane’s press release reads. “Humane’s first device will be powered by an advanced Snapdragon platform from Qualcomm Technologies.”
Humane Ai Pin outlook
There are real reasons to be excited about the Humane Ai Pin, and the functionality that’s been showcased looks intriguing. Anything that makes us less glued to screens and more "in the moment" is something plenty of people will welcome.
But it’s far from a slam dunk. For starters, some of the demos shown at TED look a little too good to be true. How did the Pin know to translate without an instruction? And how did it know Chaudhri specifically wanted the translation in French? This suggests that real-world usage might be a lot less intuitive.
For seconds, how many people are actually keen to talk to an AI assistant in public? Embarrassment aside, that’s a whole lot less private than using a screen. And on that note, screens have proved an extremely effective way of displaying information. Can a voice and mini projector really replace Google Maps, Gmail or your web browser of choice?
With a lot of unknowns, it’s hard to say what the Humane Ai Pin’s outlook is just yet. But it’s undoubtedly an intriguing device that we can’t wait to learn more about in the months ahead.