New 'AI Pin' Projects Images on Your Palm

John Lister's picture

Is it possible to replace a smartphone with a 'AI pin'? One manufacturer seems to think so. The device works by using both the pin (worn on a shirt) and one's own hand to navigate menus, all the while viewing an image. Think of it like Star Trek the Next Generation's badge intercom, but with more features.

The AI Pin from Humane is a weird device to say the least. One description uses the unlikely phrase "wearable projector," though it also includes other features commonly associated with smartphones.

It looks to be about two inches square and weighs just under two ounces. It's mainly flat but has a tilted top that includes a camera and projector. It's made up of two parts (the battery pack and computer) which stick together magnetically. The idea is to wear these either on the side of a shirt or lapel, so there's no need for a pin or clip, though pacemaker users might want to think twice. (Source:

Palm Based Controls

Perhaps the best way to think of the device is as having some key features and components of a smartphone but without the screen. When users do need to see imagery, such as a message or email, they can project an image, for example onto the palm of their hand. The idea is this is only for quick reading rather than extended viewing of images or videos.

When the projection is on a palm, the users can control the device with a dedicated user interface based around hand gestures. These include tilting the hand back and forth to move up and down menus, pinching the thumb and finger to select an option, and making a fist to return to the home screen.

The device can play audio through a speaker that's designed to be audible to the user without disturbing others. It does also support Bluetooth earphones. There's a built-in camera, with an accompanying light that warns people in the vicinity when the device is recording or taking photos.

There's also support for voice commands such as sending messages or asking questions, which are answered by an AI 'assistant'.

Monthly Subscription Required

The AI Pin costs $699 plus a $24 subscription to cover a cellular connection through T-Mobile. This includes a dedicated phone number for making and receiving voice calls (albeit without being able to hold the microphone near the mouth). (Source:

Whether it succeeds beyond the most dedicated tech collectors remains to be seen. If it works as described, it could be an adequate replacement for many smartphones tasks, with the significant exceptions of browsing websites and watching videos. For most users those are important enough to justify the bulk of carrying a smartphone in a pocket or bag.

What's Your Opinion?

Does this device solve any real problems? Could any of the features be adapted for a more useful product? Are there any circumstances where this would be better than a smartphone?

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Dennis Faas's picture

Most people are like walking zombies in public, glued to their smartphones while typing back and forth with friends and family and/or browsing the Internet. This device would certainly take away from that, and so it definitely has limited capabilities. I can see it being extremely useful if you're in a place where you can't constantly reach into your pocket to grab the phone - like when you're underground cleaning a sewer, for example, or you need to be hands free constantly. Paying $24 a month for a separate subscription would also be fairly painful unless you can tie it to your smartphone with Bluetooth.

repete_14444's picture

I partly agree with you, Dennis. People are glued to their smartphones an average of 3 to 4 hours a day (depending on who you believe). If this took the place of a smartphone, wouldn't people be looking at their palms instead? I agree it would be better than reaching into a pocket or whatever to grab the phone, but a Bluetooth headset could take care of some of those needs and save one $700 plus $24 a month. Also, projecting an image on my palm would probably be unreadable for me. It's a waste of money, in my opinion. A friend who is more perceptive than I also mentioned "(Apple and other) watches that seem to have been accepted somewhat, but I don't think you need a second contract for them, and they're easily wearable without extra attachment parts, people used to wear watches all the time, etc." We don't need no steenkin' badges!