A new AI-powered wearable device designed by two former Apple executives has been scorned by reviewers.

The AI Pin is a small square brooch which can answer questions, take photos and videos, and send messages.

Its maker, Humane, suggested it could “reimagine the human-technology relationship.”

Reviewers disagree: “this thing is bad at almost everything it does, basically all the time,” wrote Marques Brownlee.

One of the world’s best-known tech reviewers with 18.5 million followers on YouTube, in his 25 minute appraisal he described it as a good idea in theory – but in practice the worst product he had reviewed so far.

I have asked for my own hands-on with the AI Pin but have been told it is currently unavailable in the UK.

Initially only launched in the US, it costs $700, plus a $24.99 monthly subscription. Humane raised nearly $250m in funding to develop it.

It does not have a screen but can project images onto the hand of the wearer and comes with some basic gesture control.

It does have a phone number but it cannot sync with an existing smartphone and it has no bespoke apps.

The Humane AI pin's laser ink display projection on a hand at Mobile World Congress 2024

Reviewers said the pin’s laser ink display projections, demonstrated above at the Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, were less visible in bright light.

Those who have got their hands on the device have been wince-inducingly critical of it.

David Pierce, writing on tech site The Verge, said: “After many days of testing, the one and only thing I can truly rely on the AI Pin to do is tell me the time”.

Several reviewers mentioned seemingly poor battery life requiring multiple charges throughout the day.

Joanna Stern from the Wall Street Journal was among those who said she could feel the pin getting hot as she was wearing it.

Humane has not responded to the BBC’s request for comment but Sam Sheffer, head of new media at Humane, accepted on X (formerly Twitter) that the software “was not where it needs to be”.

“Feedback is a gift. we reflect and we listen and we learn and we continue building,” he wrote in response to Mr Brownlee’s review.

The Pin is being so closely watched in case it offer answers to two of the most burning questions in tech: can any device truly challenge the smartphone, and will the AI revolution create a new generation of hardware?

Francisco Jeronimo, analyst at market research firm IDC, told the BBC the Pin was “a very interesting device” but “makes no sense” from the end user perspective.

He said he feared that might also be the case for similarly hyped AI gadgets, such as the Rabbit R1 assistant.

He said while these devices hinted at what intelligent products could offer us in the future, they had not delivered it yet.

Humane, which laid off staff at the start of the year, says further updates will be made to the device in the summer.

Writing on X, Humane co-founder Bethany Bongiorno acknowledged that there was a lot of hard work to do, but was adamant her firm would not be daunted by the unfavourable press.

“If you’re a builder – don’t stop, don’t give up – keep going,” she wrote.


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