Humane’s Ai Pin is a $700 Smartphone Alternative You Wear All Day
With its housing carved from a single chunk of aluminum, Humane’s device is closer to a brooch, a tin of mints, or a cigarette packet clipped in half than the sleeker items that adorn politicians’ lapels or baseball fans’ caps. No one standing a distance away is going to miss it. Chaudhri says the name “Pin” is meant more as a metaphor to evoke the “sentiment of attaching it to your clothing” than as a physical descriptor.
To put on the Ai Pin involves placing a magnetic battery pack on the inside of a shirt or other piece of clothing, and letting a magnet on the Pin itself hold the system in place. It’s altogether about 55 grams, or 2 ounces, nearly the weight of a tennis ball. People with pacemakers should consult their doctors about potential magnetic interference, Chaudhri says.
A clip sold separately makes it possible to attach the Pin to thicker clothing or bag straps, and a lighter-weight magnet included with the device works for silky outfits or workout gear.
Photography was not allowed during WIRED’s visit to Humane, and the company didn’t provide WIRED a Pin to try. But employees provided several demonstrations of key functions.
Chaudhri says, while sporting his Pin on a warm jacket, that he has worn it from rise until bedtime each day for over a year. He says it can hold up under rigorous activity, noting that he’s been biking with it. In testing, the Pin has held firm during running and jumping, he says, and it has been drop tested from a meter and a half on a variety of surfaces.
The Pin comes in three colors that have fancy names but are essentially black all around, black with silver edges, and white with silver edges. The silver-bordered options are priced at $799. Colorful plastic cases dubbed “shields,” sold separately, can add more flair to edge of the Pin. Bongiorno says they allow the devices to be more durable when dropped, which may be a big fear for potential buyers. “I asked Imran to make those for me,” Bongiorno says, describing herself as clumsy.
The Ai Pin’s most distinctive features reside in the curved top of the device, which houses an ultrawide camera, light and depth detectors, and a laser projector. Humane realized when testing that without that curve, a camera resting on people’s chests would mostly be pointing to the sky. “Everyone’s built differently, and the optics need to actually be angled downward to account for the different shapes,” Chaudhri says.