Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

12 things I learned about the Humane Ai Pin at MWC 2024

Published Feb 28th, 2024 5:24PM EST
The Humane Ai Pin up close and personal.
Image: Chris Smith, BGR

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

One device I didn’t expect to see at MWC 2024 in Barcelona was the Humane Ai Pin that was announced a few months ago. After all, Humane’s AI-powered gadget will only launch in the US and will also require a subscription to the company’s own MVNO wireless service.

But this is a wearable device. It features built-in cellular service, and it’s built around AI. What better place to show it off than the biggest mobile show in the world? 

I accidentally found the Ai Pin at Qualcomm’s booth while checking out the chip maker’s new on-device AI tech announced at MWC. Qualcomm had various companies showcasing AI features on their devices, and most of them were phones. However, the biggest crowd was gathered around something else: The Ai Pin. 

I got to talk to the Humane reps at the show, and I’m glad I did. Not only did I get to see the Ai Pin in action, but I also got answers to some of my questions. And I will say that I’m more interested in the wearable device than I was a few months ago.

Humane needs better marketing

Everything I learned about the Humane Ai Pin before MWC came from the teasers last year, the launch event, and the website. A hands-on demo of the gadget beats all of that. 

Clearly, Humane needs better marketing. All the people I saw at MWC crowded around Humane’s stand made me realize there’s plenty of interest in the Ai Pin. Potential customers want to know how it works and what it can do. Humane has to find a better way to show them.

The closest I got to the Ai Pin.
The closest I got to the Ai Pin. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The Ai Pin is smaller than I thought

I could not touch the wearable device, but it was much smaller than I thought it would be. I’d say it’s about the size of an Apple Watch Ultra. 

It’s easy to carry around, too, thanks to the various magnetic accessories that Humane developed. You can attach it to thin shirts and thicker garments with the right accessory.

Voice control works very well

I saw voice-based demos during my chat with Humane reps. This included sending messages, playing music, having AI explain what that random Taylor Swift song the device played at my request was about, and having AI recommend things to do in Barcelona.

Swiping on the Humane Ai Pin will raise the volume.
Swiping on the Humane Ai Pin will raise the volume. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

I also tested real-time translation, conversing with the Humane rep bilingually via the Ai Pin. I’m not a native English speaker, and it just worked. It kind of blew my mind.

The only thing slowing the Ai Pin down is a janky Wi-Fi or cellular connection. That’s because most of the AI processing happens in the cloud. Some replies took a few seconds to generate, but the AI answered promptly once it was ready.

Audio can be very loud

That Taylor Swift song that I asked the Humane Ai Pin about played loudly from the device’s speaker. You can adjust the volume by swiping up on the Ai Pin. That also means that the replies can be rather loud and, therefore, not especially private when you’re in a crowd.

I do not like this display.
I do not like this display. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

The laser display is amazing but annoying

I said I wasn’t necessarily sold on Humane’s displayless Ai Pin in my earlier coverage. After the MWC demo, I’m still not. The Ai Pin features a laser projector that can beam an image onto your hand. It’s not ideal, especially in a world full of stunning phone screens.

I wouldn’t read text on my hand on a regular basis, and viewing photos this way is even more ridiculous. But the Ai Pin can do these things when necessary.

The projected images can be crisp, depending on how the light hits your hand. I failed to capture a better photo of the “screen” than this, and I’m still not a fan of it.

I wouldn't want to look at my palm at all.
I wouldn’t want to look at my palm at all. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Controlling the screen will take time to master

It’s not just the image quality that I don’t like. The way you control the Ai Pin display feels inhumane. You have to master new gestures that might be difficult to perform while you’re out and about in order to use the laser projector. 

I’m sure users will figure it out, but it’ll still require some effort. After all, you won’t be placing the pin in the same exact spot every time. In turn, the laser won’t beam the image in the same place on your hand. Therefore, you’ll always have to ensure the pin can see your gestures. 

The Humane staff at MWC had no problem controlling the display when needed, and it seemed like second nature to them.

You input your password with your hand.
You input your password with your hand. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Logging in to your Ai Pin will be a huge pain

Every time you take off the Ai Pin, it locks itself. You’ll have to unlock it by entering a password. Since this password safeguards the data the AI has access to, you’ll need a strong password. And here comes the hard part: You’ll have to input that password using the gestures I mentioned to select letters and symbols that will appear in the palm of your hand. 

I asked about ways of using AI so that you could use your voice to log into the Ai Pin, and Humane told me that’s something they’re looking at. But there’s no telling when it’ll be available, if ever. 

The Ai Pin is very secure

That said, the Ai Pin will secure all your data. Everything is private. The data is encrypted, and nobody can see it. By data, I mean the conversations with the AI and the photos, videos, and notes you might save with the pin. They’ll be saved in your Humane account for later access. Only the user has access to that data.

If Ai Pin users want to share preferences with third parties, it’ll be up to those parties to request it, and the user to agree to do it.

Interacting with the Ai Pin display.
Interacting with the Ai Pin display doesn’t seem easy. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Humane won’t train its AI on your data

The Ai Pin uses large language models to answer your questions and commands. But Humane won’t use any of your data to train the AI. Humane doesn’t even rely on the knowledge those LLMs might have. It uses AI simply to determine your needs and provide results, whether it’s search results or another action you want the AI to perform. 

The Ai Pin won’t work like the Rabbit r1

The Ai Pin isn’t the only AI-centric device coming out soon. The Rabbit r1 is a direct competitor that uses AI to perform in-app actions. Humane told me they don’t want to go about that way. The r1 essentially teaches AI to navigate an app user interface and perform actions on your behalf. 

Humane wants to ditch smartphone apps and instead connect services directly via APIs. You’d still have to log into a third-party app/service for the Ai Pin to perform in-app actions. And such features would need to be supported by that third-party service provider. 

A closer look at the Humane Ai Pin.
A closer look at the Humane Ai Pin. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR

Expansion in Europe is possible

The fact that Humane is at MWC 2024 is a signal that expansion outside of the US is possible. It’s not a confirmation that it will happen, but Humane hinted they’re not just there to be part of Qualcomm’s AI demos. 

That’s certainly exciting news to me, though I’m tempering my expectations. The EU cellular market is more fragmented than in the US, though several major players control it. Having a constant cellular connection is a vital part of the Ai Pin experience. 

The price is a necessary evil

The Ai Pin is expensive, but keep in mind that this is a first-gen device. It’s a piece of tech that has no rival or alternative in a nascent market from a startup that’s operating on seed money. As such, don’t expect to see any discounts on the price any time soon.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.