Startup behind ‘flop’ AI Pin seeks buyer for $1 billion

The Humane AI Pin clips to a user’s clothes and serves as a standalone AI-powered device (Humane)
The Humane AI Pin clips to a user’s clothes and serves as a standalone AI-powered device (Humane)

The company behind a widely-hyped but poorly-received artificial intelligence device is seeking a buyer for $1 billion (£785 million), according to reports.

San Francisco-based Humane is in talks with a financial advisor over a potential sale, Bloomberg reported, just a month after the underwhelming launch of its AI Pin.

Humane pitched its product as a potential successor to the smartphone, claiming that an always-on AI assistant clipped to a user’s clothes could provide broad functionality without needing a screen.

The device was widely panned when it shipped to customers to the public in April, with Bloomberg describing it as an “epic” failure and TechRadar calling it an “undercooked flop”.

Reviewers complained of slow response times and overheating issues, describing the $700 device as a “promising mess you don’t need yet” and “the solution to none of technology’s problems”.

Founded by former Apple designer Imran Chaudhri, Humane had the ambitious goal of ushering in the next evolution of personal computers by seeking to create a new way of interacting with technology.

Propelled by the recent popularity of chatbots like ChatGPT and other generative AI, Humane favoured voice- and gesture-driven interactions with its device, while also offering a laser-projected display that could beam onto a wearer’s palm.

The idea was to avoid constant screen interaction, though limited functionality and problematic features meant the vast majority of early users said they would not forego their smartphones in favour of the AI Pin.

Humane said at the time that software updates and hardware improvements would see the device become “smarter and more powerful” in the future.

“We have an ambitious roadmap with software improvements, new features, additional partnerships,” Bethany Bongiorno, CEO and co-founder of Humane, said following the launch.

“Our vision is for CosmOS [the AI Pin’s operating system] to eventually exist in many different devices and form factors, which will allow for truly ambient computing.”

The Independent has reached out to the company for comment.