Sam Altman-backed Humane unveils Ai Pin: Know how this smartphone without a screen works

Humane has finally showcased what the Ai Pin is, and it promises to take on all the tasks of a modern smartphone, without a display or needing to download different apps. Find out its price, features, and how exactly it functions.

| Updated on: Nov 10 2023, 09:33 IST
Ai Pin
Know all about Sam Altman-backed Humane’s Ai Pin. (Humane)
Ai Pin
Know all about Sam Altman-backed Humane’s Ai Pin. (Humane)

Humane's Ai Pin has filled tech enthusiasts with curiosity ever since it was announced earlier this year. The Sam Altman-backed (he's the largest shareholder at 14 percent) company revealed nothing about the device apart from that it was a wearable device powered by artificial intelligence, and that you could attach it to your clothes. But finally, the curtain is lifted and we have seen what this device promises. It is being touted as a smartphone without a screen and it can do absolutely everything that a phone can including making calls, snapping photos, sending messages and more courtesy an AI assistant. We also know exactly how it works, and its price, in case you want to try out this futuristic device. So, let us take a closer look.

What is Ai Pin

In July 2023, Humane, a 2018-founded startup known for working with AI technology, made its first product announcement, and it revealed that it was a clothing-based wearable gadget called Ai Pin. Cofounder and ex-Apple employee Imran Chaudhri described it as “a new type of standalone device with a software platform that harnesses the power of AI to enable innovative personal computing experiences”.

It eerily resembled a smartphone, but one that was attached to your shirt or dress. It turns out, it is exactly that. Ai Pin is a small boxy device with a 13MP ultra-wide camera, a bunch of sensors, a speaker, a laser ink display, and a microphone. So, it can see, sense, speak, and listen.

It is powered by an unnamed Snapdragon chipset and an AI engine which is likely to be GPT-4, although the company does not mention the name. It, however, does mention OpenAI and Microsoft in its press release, saying, “Humane's unique collaborations with Microsoft and OpenAI give Ai Pin access to some of the world's most powerful AI models and platforms and set the foundation for new capabilities to be added as the technology evolves”. The connection with OpenAI is an obvious one given that Sam Altman is the largest shareholder with a 14 percent stake in the company.

Additionally, the press release also mentions that the Ai Pin is a standalone device and it does not need to be paired with a smartphone or any companion device. In a way, it appears that the device aims to replace the traditional way of using smartphones by eliminating apps with ‘AI experiences' and automating most of your tasks, so you don't have to keep looking at the screen.

The company's communication points out that it does not want the user to get caught in interacting with the device more than it is necessary. The device gets things done in the background while the user can stay focused in the moment.

How does the Ai Pin work?

The Ai Pin, with its host of sensors, camera, speaker, microphone, and laser ink display, can function as an abstract smartphone with limited usage. Additionally, the device is also privacy-focused. Despite having a camera pointed towards the world, the company claims that it is not listening unless it is active, and in fact, it does not even listen for wake words.

“The device only activates upon user engagement and does not employ ‘wake words', ensuring it is not always listening or recording. Ai Pin features a prominent Trust Light which indicates when any sensors are active, which is managed via a dedicated privacy chip. If compromised, Ai Pin will shut down and require professional service from Humane,” the company stated.

So, that's great. But what does it do? As per the company, you tap on the square device on your shirt and swipe down to activate the device. Once activated, it can do a bunch of things for you.

The features mentioned by the company include the following. It can draft and send messages and emails without you having to type. You can simply speak to the device and it will use the prompt to suggest a draft using its laser ink display. You can simply hold your palm out and see the display there. If you're not happy, you can add more prompts to change them.

The AI can also recommend music playlists to you. While it was not mentioned, we assume this means earphones can be paired with the device. To control music, you can use gesture control. Apart from that, you can use the Ai Pin to ask questions like you would to a chatbot that is connected to the internet. But this one, since it is connected to your email and messages, can also contextualize information from there and give you specific information relating to your life. For example, you can ask about the food joint your friend told you to try out and its timing. 

Apart from this, it can also understand and learn from your behavior to prioritize tasks, and calls, and push away the things you tend not to do, such as calls from sales marketing.

The device comes with an internal battery, but the company also provides a battery booster, that can be attached to the back of the device for longer usage. 

There are a lot of questions on how it does certain things, and more importantly, how well can it do them, but those will only be known after launch, it seems.

Ai Pin price and availability

As per the company, the Ai Pin, along with the battery booster, will cost $699. Additionally, there is a $24 monthly fee for a Humane subscription which will give you cellular connectivity, a number, and data coverage. For now, this service is only being provided by T-Mobile in the USA.

The company is opening Ai Pin for preorders starting November 16, and it is expected to ship them out in early 2024.

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First Published Date: 10 Nov, 09:11 IST