This Wearable AI Device Could Make Your iPhone Obsolete

A whole new generation of “invisible” technology could make our modern-day devices obsolete and end our addiction to screens. That’s according to the inventors of a new wearable Artificial Intelligence device called “Humane.”

Humane was developed by former Apple veterans Imran Chaudhri, Apple’s former Director of Design; and Bethany Bongiorno, formerly Director of Software Engineering at Apple. The two co-founders were part of the teams who invented the Mac, iPod, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch, among other groundbreaking products for the technology giant.

Chaudhri unveiled their new invention at a recent TED Talk, in which he painted a vision of a future in which every person will have their own personal AI assistant.


He noted that as the computational power of our devices increased, their physical size shrunk, until reaching today’s era of highly-portable yet unprecedentedly-powerful devices like smartphones and smartwatches. According to Chaudhri, this current generation of technology has “evolved us into the modern connected human we are.” The next stage, he asserted, is for devices to become almost completely invisible.

While AR and VR devices “merely moved the screens we already have in our lives today to being millimetres away from our eyeballs,” Humane’s model is of technology “built from the ground-up for AI,” one that is “screenless, seamless and sensing.”

“It interacts with the world the way you work with the world; hearing what you hear and seeing what you see,” he explained.

The technology isn’t completely invisible though; it’s not Elon Musk’s Neuralink. Instead, it’s a tiny device about the size of a wireless earphone that clips to your clothing. Rather than typing on a screen, it uses Machine Learning to process complex voice commands, and even complicated hand movements.

One of the central advantages of this type of device is that it enables people to “be present” while still accessing evermore powerful technology. 

“Imagine riding a bicycle in the park and just ripping through emails, or going to a concert without having to hold up your phone to capture it. Or experiencing your toddler’s first steps without a screen between you and your child,” the 20-year Apple veteran told his audience.

The demonstration was undeniably impressive, with Chaudhry casually showing off a host of advanced capabilities: from instantly translating a complex sentence into French in his own voice; to answering a call from his wife on his hand; to whipping out a chocolate bar and asking his AI if he could eat it. “Given your intolerance” to cocoa butter “you might want to avoid it,” was the response. 


Chaudhri was quick to note that he didn’t have to listen to it. “My AI knows what’s best for me, but I’m in control,” he insisted, perhaps conscious that a machine telling a human what to eat might not go down so well given the growing anxiety over AI.

But for the founders of Humane, that anxiety is misplaced. In their vision, rather than eclipsing or enslaving the human race, this kind of portable AI assistant will make us more efficient, intelligent and successful.

And perhaps just as inspiring, he sees it as a way to end humanity’s addiction to screens. After all, “why fumble for your phone when you can just hold an object and ask questions about it?”


Watch The Full TED Talk Here: