Humane Pin launched

Humane Pin launched

[Update 1-10-2024: Things aren’t looking good. Humane layed off 4% of it’s workforce and the CTO has transitioned to an ‘advisor’ role before they have even shipped a single device (estimated March 2024)]

It looks like the Humane pin has finally launched at a relatively reasonable cost of $699. We finally have some details. I’m pretty sure it’s not a smartphone killer – Humane has definitely backed off from that original stance.

The translation feature is a really excellent usage and having a simple assistant that can let you check flight times and send text messages without pulling out your phone is pretty slick. But I’m not sure about a lot of the rest. Needing a $20 monthly subscription and not tethering with your existing phone plan is a troubling extra expense.

Having to interact with it with talking will definitely make it a bit awkward in social and public situations. I bet it would have problems at a dinner party or louder venue. Gesture recognition is a finicky technology (especially in strange lighting conditions, if you’re wearing gloves, etc), so if there are any issues there it could be very frustrating and you can only do so much with simple gestures.

The screen projection looks limited to high contrast basic information. You certainly won’t be reading lots of text – which is problematic if you want to read text messages instead of having them read aloud to you (and everyone else around you). I certainly wouldn’t want everyone to hear what people are texting me; but maybe they’ll allow blue tooth headphone tethering.

I think the biggest issue is that it didn’t live up to the hype. Almost all of these things can be done with your average smart phone – albeit with a little more fiddling. The AI just isn’t really delivering a unique enough set of features to live up to the promise of the device. It really seems to just be giving you a more vocal interface – which I’m not sure is enough of a selling point. The reality is people likely do not want to be talking to their devices in public. I could easily see the iWatch or smart phones integrating some of these features though.

The one thing is does do is make me start thinking of how we interact with our technology very differently. How would a truly smart AI assistant be like to interact with? What would a really functional assistant like this operate like? I’m glad someone is trying this out. Even if it’s not successful, it’s going to breed a lot of new ideas.

The reddit chat on the device seems to mirror a lot of the concerns. Also, it seems they only have about 100,000 interested folks sign up to purchase one. I’m one of those people who signed up, but it required no deposit/etc so it’s uncertain how many actual buyers there will be.

Final thought: The way you tap it makes me think immediately of Star Trek communicator badges. I bet it’s not long before someone mods one.


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