Smartphones are omnipresent and have changed our everyday lives. But in the tech industry people always wonder what comes next. A vision for this is now coming onto the market in the USA.
Can artificial intelligence make the frequent look at your smartphone unnecessary? A start-up run by two former Apple employees that has been surrounded by a lot of hype for months wants to prove that the idea can be commercially successful. The company called Humane has been marketing a small device without a display since Thursday – but with a camera, speaker and laser projector.
The flat “Ai Pin” with edges of less than five centimeters is attached to clothing using a magnet and worn at chest height. It has no display but is operated via voice or hand gestures. An innovation that could set a precedent if the pin fails: The magnet that holds the device is also the easily replaceable battery that supplies it with power.
The camera plays a special role – it is, so to speak, the eye of artificial intelligence. Because the software can recognize objects. Co-founder Imran Chaudhri demonstrated their skills by holding a handful of almonds in front of the lens and asking how much protein they contained. “15 grams,” was the answer, which referred to the exact amount recorded. Chaudhri then showed the “Ai Pin” a book and had it ordered online.
When the camera and microphone are on, a visible light flashes on the top edge of the device. This is intended to allay data protection concerns. Chaudhri emphasized in an interview with technology journalist Om Malik that the recordings are only stored on the device itself and in the cloud in an area accessible only to the respective users. “No one will use them to learn about them.”
Other AI developers also see the advantage of providing the software with context about the current situation via sensors. The Facebook group Meta is now selling the second generation of Ray-Ban glasses with a camera and microphone in the USA. “This allows your AI assistant to see what you see and hear what you hear,” emphasized Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg recently. And the start-up RewindAI wants to sell a trailer that records and transcribes everything you say and hear.
At “Ai Pin,” Chaudhri demonstrated real-time translation between English and Spanish. And when users hold their palm in front of the projector, information such as the time or information about the weather and the music currently playing is displayed. The device, which can also be used to connect wireless earphones, can also access the Tidal music streaming service.
One goal of Chaudhri and his co-founder and wife Bethany Bongiorno with the device is to make frequent interactions with screens unnecessary thanks to artificial intelligence. You can ask the software for a summary of the most recent messages and calls. But you can also ask for specific information, for example a door entry code that you got from a friend at some point.
Humane is initially only launching the “Ai Pin” in the USA. In addition to the purchase price of $699, you will have to pay $24 per month for the mobile connection. The start-up works on artificial intelligence with, among others, the ChatGPT developer OpenAI. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is also an investor in Humane.