Humane, a startup established by former Apple employees recently showcased a live demo of their new standalone wearable device designed to serve as a personal assistant with AI capabilities. The tiny unit can provide summaries of emails, calendar invites, and messages, it can identify objects, it can translate, and even project a screen onto nearby surfaces, reports The Verge.
Humane, which is headed by Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, aims to design an AI assistant, which — as the name of the company suggests — is as human-like as possible. The company recently demonstrated the device's capabilities ata TED Talk. The prototype can be controlled using voice (i.e., it has a microphone) and gesture (i.e., it has a camera) commands, which is how human beings interact with each other. Meanwhile, AI capabilities of the product can put the information it receives into context.
For example, Humane's device's camera can identify objects in the user's environment, if it sees a chocolate bar, it can advise the user on whether it is suitable for consumption based on the owner's dietary requirements.
Meanwhile, AI-powered features enable the wearable to provide users with summaries of their emails, calendar events, and messages, offering a personalized experience. Additionally, the device is capable of translating spoken sentences, further highlighting its potential as a versatile personal assistant.
While the device does not have its own screen, one of its notable features is its ability to project screens onto nearby surfaces, which compensates for the lack of its own display. This functionality enables users to engage with their content in a perhaps more flexible manner than on a touchscreen. Yet, it remains unclear what happens if there is no appropriate surface nearby. Also, smartphones offer a more or less private screen, something that Humane's product does not.
Despite the impressive array of features offered by Humane's wearable, its ability to compete with smartphones in terms of usability and convenience is something that remains to be seen. Smartphones have become an essential part of modern life, providing users with quick access to information and ample performance for a slew of tasks. It is unclear whether the combination of a projected screen and speakers in Humane's wearable can offer an equally good user experience.
But while Humane's device may not make it to the mainstream market and challenge smartphones or smart watches, it can certainly be used in various niche markets assisting professionals in different areas.
Imagine using it with translation software, so you could better navigate a foreign country where you don't speak the language. There, the projector (and camera, which could translate signs and read them to you) would be quite useful.
Still, I'm left feeling that it's ultimately quite limited, compared to what you could do with a pair of AR glasses. And, if you had decent AR glasses, then the only function left for this wearable would be the projector function. So, I hope this is just a stepping stone for them, rather than their ultimate product idea.