Humane AI Pin First Impressions: A Future Beyond Smartphones

Imagining a world beyond smartphones is a challenge. But Humane Inc., the company behind the Humane AI Pin, is giving us a glimpse at what this might look like eventually. Of course, Humane says its AI Pin will not replace a phone. The device is being visualised as one that will complement our smartphone.

Still, the Humane AI Pin is the most concrete example we have seen recently of how AI could power a gadget. The Humane AI Pin also makes us imagine a different reality where AI is central. And we got a glimpse of this on day 1 of our trip to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, where we had a chance to check it out. Here’s our first impression of the device.

Humane AI Pin: Getting Started

In order to use the Humane AI Pin, you’ll have to attach it to a booster or a powerbank. The idea here is the booster goes inside your clothing, and it connects magnetically to the pin to keep charging it. We made the demo guy do jumping jacks, just to check if the magnet is strong enough – it is.

Humane says you can squeeze out about seven to eight hours of battery life on a single charge. There are two boosters that come bundled with the pin and these are hot-swappable; so, in theory, you can get a full day of power.

Humane AI Pin: Your Hands Become the Screen

The Humane AI Pin comes with several smartphone functionalities. It boots a custom operating system called Cosmos. Further, it supports e-SIM; a speaker is on top, and a mic is at the bottom. It comes with basic water resistance – though there is no official rating, we’re guessing you can’t dunk this in water.

The front also has a camera and a Time of Flight (ToF) projector. And yes, it is very good at detecting hands for projecting information. So, if you want the pin to showcase some information, hands will become the screen, though the user interface does not produce the most crisp visuals, but it gives you a proper context.

The idea here is to go beyond the touchscreen. The info gets projected onto your hands, or someone else’s also. Humane calls this the Laser Ink display.

One can simply tilt or roll their hands to interact with this Laser Ink screen projected onto your hands. And in order to make a selection – say you want to fast-forward to the next song – one just has to close their fingers together, making a pinch gesture. To control the pin, one has to rely on taps and gestures. Most of us are familiar with such gestures thanks to all the wearable earbuds — which by the way, can also be connected to the Humane AI Pin. However, gestures aren’t the only way to interact with the AI Pin. You can also triple tap the pin for a quick catch up of your notifications.

Humane AI Pin: What’s The AI Fuss?

The AI on this pin is reasonably intelligent, as we experienced at the booth. The Humane AI Pin could recognise who was standing in front and even gave out the person’s description. It also read out the name on the ID, which was a sci-fiction moment come true.

We also asked the company what happens if two of these AI Pins cross paths, and they said it’s something that they are working on to make the experience even more immersive. We are hoping for a fun interaction between the two if this ever happens.

Of course, Humane makes many claims with the AI bit here: the AI can answer all users’ questions, figure out usage patterns and trusted contacts, give relevant information from messages, etc. Just how it pans out in real life is something we will know only once the device goes on sale, which has been delayed to April for now.

Humane AI Pin: Price, Will it Come to India?

The Humane AI Pin is priced at $699. Oh, and there’s a monthly subscription that will cost $24/month. Taxes and fees will be extra. Yes, if you want AI clipped to your chest, remember it will require some monthly fees. After all, the Humane AI Pin must connect to the cloud to answer these user queries. And that costs a pretty penny for most companies. Hence, the subscription costs.

It doesn’t look like the device is coming to India for now. But watching the Humane AI Pin in action at MWC was quite an exhilarating experience. It certainly forces one to think of how we might all have to adapt in the future, especially as newer forms of technology become more pervasive.