In this article, we’re diving into the latest details about Humane’s hotly anticipated AI-powered device, a mystery that has captured the tech world’s imagination.
On March 8, 2023, TechCrunch published an article by senior reporter Kyle Wiggers about Humane, an AI startup founded by former Apple design and engineering team members Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno. According to this report, last month, the company raised $100 million in a Series C funding round led by Kindred Ventures and featuring notable investors such as SK Networks, LG Technology Ventures, Microsoft, Volvo Cars Tech Fund, Tiger Global, Qualcomm Ventures, and OpenAI CEO and co-founder Sam Altman. So far, Humane has raised over $230 million and grown its workforce to over 200 employees.
Humane is developing an “integrated device and cloud services platform” for AI, though its work remains largely mysterious. Chaudhri and Bongiorno, the husband-wife duo leading the startup, plan to reveal their creation this spring. Humane’s patent portfolio and hiring activity offer some insight into its development, such as a “body-worn device” utilizing a “laser projection system” instead of a display, as filed in a 2020 USPTO application. Additionally, the company has sought Android developers for various applications in recent years.
Blogger John Gruber has shared another perspective based on a leaked 2021 Humane pitch deck, describing a device similar to a Star Trek communicator badge with an always-on AI-connected camera, lidar sensors for world-mapping, and hand gesture detection.
Humane has also announced strategic partnerships with its investors. The startup is collaborating with SK Networks and Microsoft for market entry and cloud processing power. OpenAI is working with Humane to integrate its technology into the startup’s device. LG is partnering with Humane for R&D projects and adapting its technology for smart home devices. Meanwhile, Volvo is exploring a potential automotive industry offering with Humane. Qualcomm is another partner, which aligns with the aforementioned patent, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon chip.
Despite the excitement and investments, the lack of a commercialized product leaves some skeptical, especially considering other high-profile hardware failures such as Magic Leap and Essential. However, it’s worth noting that Humane has managed expectations more effectively than these companies.
Imran Chaudhri (Humane’s Chairman and President), a distinguished designer and inventor, has dedicated over two decades to creating some of Apple’s most iconic consumer products, such as the Macintosh, iPod, iPad, Apple Watch, and iPhone. Known for devising the revolutionary iPhone user interface and interactions, Imran holds thousands of patents and emphasizes the importance of human-centered design.
Bethany Bongiorno (Humane’s CEO), a former Director of Software Engineering at Apple, has led teams responsible for developing transformative products like iOS and macOS. She has a background in physics, astrophysics research, and software development consultancy and is passionate about guiding high-performing teams to tackle complex challenges.
Imran and Bethany founded Humane with a vision to make the future even more intelligent and personal. They are committed to building technology that addresses tomorrow’s possibilities rather than today’s limitations. By prioritizing genuine human connection in the context of computing, they aim to redefine technology’s role in our lives.
On April 20, 2023, Chaudhri, who is also Humane’s chairman and president, presented a talk and live demo of their AI-powered personal communicator device at TED 2023 in Vancouver, Canada. Earlier today, in an article for Inverse, Raymond Wong reported that Chaudhri had emphasized the potential of AI and chatbots like ChatGPT and shared his vision for the wearable device. Apparently, the Humane co-founder said the device is a standalone product that does not require a smartphone or any other device to pair with it. Chaudhri stated that the device “interacts with the world the way you interact with the world, hearing what you hear, seeing what you see, while being privacy first, and safe, and completely fading into the background of your life.”
As the world awaits the unveiling of Humane’s AI-powered wearable device, only time will tell if it can live up to the hype and truly revolutionize how we interact with technology.