The Humane AI pin is a screen-free smartphone alternative… but I’m not completely sold

Humane finally releases the AI pin but leaves more questions than answers

Humane AI pin
(Image credit: Humane)

After many rumours and rumblings about what it is and when it’ll be released, the Humane AI pin is finally available to order. As the first wearable built specifically to harness AI, the Humane AI pin has been the hot topic of conversation and now it’s been officially released to the public, the start-up has unveiled what it is and how it works… but I’m not completely sold and still have a mountain of questions.

Humane is a start-up company founded by former Apple executives who worked on some of the best iPhones. For several years now, Humane has been working on an AI-based wearable device that allows users to carry a digital assistant with them on the go.

Stepping away from current wearable technology like the best smartwatches, the Humane AI pin has been dubbed as a screen-free smartphone alternative and wearable device. While the public were given sneak peeks of the device when it debuted at Paris Fashion Week, the company has been pretty secretive about what it does and how it works… until now.

On the Humane website, there’s a 10-minute film where co-founder Imran Chaudhri explains everything about the Humane AI pin. As stated by Chaudhri, the Humane AI pin is a “standalone device and software platform built for AI.” It’s made up of two pieces – a computer and battery booster – and sits on your clothes so it’s ready to engage with you at any time.

The Humane AI pin has its own connectivity built-in and uses its own Humane network with T-Mobile. It runs on a Snapdragon chipset for super quick response time, and doesn’t require an app but rather gives you an AI experience on the device and in the cloud. Unlike virtual assistants like Alexa, the Humane AI pin doesn’t use wake up words, so it’s not always listening or recording you. Instead, the Humane AI pin doesn’t do anything until you engage with it via touch, voice, gesture or laser ink display.

Other clever features include a RGB camera, motion sensors, impressive speakers, and health and nutrition tracking. The Humane AI pin also uses a beacon to alert you to messages and the virtual assistant is more conversational. It also has an indicator trust light that lets you know when it’s active for better data security and protection.

After watching the video, I was both impressed and confused by the Humane AI pin. The laser ink display is arguably the coolest part of the device as it projects notifications onto the palm of your hand. To change what you’re listening to, you tilt your palm, click your fingers and clench your fists, which really reminded me of Iron Man! I absolutely hate downloading apps for things so I liked how the Humane AI pin doesn’t come with an app, and the design is sleek and compact.

Humane Ai pin

(Image credit: Humane)

Having said that, I’m not completely sold on the Humane AI pin. As many outlets are calling it a screenless smartphone alternative, it’s made me realise how much I value having a screen. To me, it seems like a strange mix of a smartphone and smart speaker which almost makes me wonder why people would want it, particularly when the majority of the population already have these items.

Another thing that stumped me was the video didn’t completely explain how to set it up. The video showed that you can use the Humane AI pin to buy things so how do you put your card details on it? The brand also says the Humane AI pin has its own phone number which just adds to my confusion. While it’s not as expensive as a new iPhone, the Humane AI pin isn’t cheap either. It starts at $699 and has a $24 monthly subscription which unlocks its many features.

The Humane AI pin is available in three colourways and designed to fashionably sit on your clothes, but this doesn’t feel very versatile to me. The joy of smart rings and smartwatches is that they sit on your finger or wrist and can be worn all the time but I don’t get the same feeling about the Humane AI pin.

Overall, parts of the Humane AI pin are really clever, but as it’s being called a smartphone alternative, I don’t see how it’s that different from phones and smart home devices… and I’m not sure how many people will willingly give up their phone for it. Instead, I think it’s better described as a virtual assistant which I think will get more people on board with it.

But, maybe I’m just a bit of a dinosaur and don’t understand AI? Who knows?! Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing more people use the Humane AI pin to see how it makes everyday life easier and more streamlined… but I don’t think I’ll be using it anytime soon.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.

Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!