Humane Lifts the Curtain on Ai Pin: The OpenAI-Powered Wearable

November 15, 2023 by Duane Benson

After years of development and promotion, Humane has finally revealed Ai Pin, a wearable AI assistant with a "less is more" approach.

Humane has officially launched its flagship product, the Ai Pin. This lapel-worn device promises to make AI a daily assistant at the size of a smartwatch and the power of a smartphone. Ai Pin uses cloud-based AI to communicate in a way that does not interrupt life. 


The Ai Pin clip

The Ai Pin clips unobtrusively to clothing for easy access to AI.

Apple alumni and husband and wife duo Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno started Humane in 2017 with the goal of applying their years of leading-edge user experience and software development to create unobtrusive wearables. All About Circuits previously covered a preview of the new product that now has a launch date, with pre-orders starting November 16.


Smartphone Hardware in a Smartwatch Package

The Ai Pin differs little from a modern smartphone, except that it doesn’t sport a conventional display—and it comes in the size of a smartwatch. Unlike a smartwatch, however, the Ai Pin does not tether to a smartphone. It has its own connectivity and does not need a parent device. The phone component uses T-Mobile LTE/3G for voice calls and remote data. It also supports Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, and global positioning with Wi-Fi assist, and includes an accelerometer, gyro, and depth and time-of-flight sensor.

The camera has a 120-degree field, f/2.4 aperture, and a 5-element lens with a single glass element. It is fixed focus, from 40 cm (15.7 inches) to infinity. Under the hood, the Ai Pin uses a Qualcomm 8-core Snapdragon processor at 21 GHz with 4 GB RAM and 32 GB eMMC long-term storage.

The Ai Pin has a battery within the computing unit, giving it four hours of battery life. It comes with a standard external battery pack bringing run time up to about nine hours. The external battery pack uses wireless charging and fastens to the Ai Pin with magnets. This configuration allows the battery to act as a fastener, with the computer on the front of a layer of clothing and the battery on the other side.


The device snaps onto clothes magnetically

The device snaps onto clothes magnetically. Image used courtesy of Humane

That means that with a spare battery or two, you never have to place your Ai Pin on a dedicated charger. Just rotate through battery packs as needed.


Privacy-Centric User Interface

The user interface starts with a wide-angle camera, microphone, and touch sensor. It is equipped with what Humane calls a “trust light” that indicates whenever any of the input devices are active. This delivers transparency to the user and anyone nearby. It won’t record or capture without indicating that it is doing so. 

Users can communicate with the device verbally through its built-in microphone and speaker or by connecting to a Bluetooth headset. Input comes from the microphone, camera, and touch sensor. Output uses a small speaker and a laser projector. The speaker uses a head-related transfer function (HRTF) to localize sound to the wearer and minimize disruption to the surrounding area. The projector can display monochromatic images on a small surface, like the palm of your hand. The camera will pick up gestures and interactions with the image as input.


The camera interprets your interaction with the laser projector display

The camera interprets your interaction with the laser projector display.

To enhance privacy, the Ai Pin doesn’t always listen for control words or phrases like common voice control systems. It wakes up with a gesture on the touchpad and will then listen and watch.

Humane collaborated with Microsoft and OpenAI to include the AI models and platforms for a range of unique features: crafting messages that sound like the user, inquiring about a food's nutritional content, and summarizing missed notifications.


Making Technology Live Up to Its Promise

While consumer electronics are an invaluable resource, they can take users out of the moment. Phone calls, texts, and alerts stop conversations, disrupt meetings, and divert attention away from important activities. Humane endeavors to make computer power available without getting in the way of life. 

The Ai Pin converts the smartphone from an object of primary attention to a background—a utilitarian device that provides ambient computing. The goal of ambient computing is to direct a user’s attention away from the computer—not toward it—and allow them to stay in a conversation or other activity.