Wearable startup Humane AI laid off four percent of its employees before it has started shipping its Ai Pin, The Verge has reported. Leadership reportedly told employees that budgets would be lowered in 2024, according to sources familiar with the matter. The cuts were implemented earlier this week and affect around 10 people.
On LinkedIn, CEO and co-founder Bethany Bongiorno called the cuts “part of a wider refresh of our organizational structure as our company evolves with purpose for this next phase of growth.” She added that CTO Patrick Gates will be transitioning to an advisor role, and that Humane AI had promoted new heads of hardware, software and others as part of a reorganization. Bongiorno told The Verge that the cuts were “not communicated as a layoff,” though sources told that outlet that they were, both verbally and in writing.
Humane was founded by ex-Apple executives Bongiorno and her husband Imran Chaudhri. It’s primary product is the “Ai Pin” that acts as a sort of wearable AI assistant. The company first unveiled the device at a Paris fashion show and announced last month that it would start shipping in March for $699.
The pin takes voice commands from the user and beams relevant information onto the user’s hand via a built-in projector. It can also perform AI-powered optical recognition via a camera. It’s powered by a quad-core Snapdragon processor with a dedicated Qualcomm AI Engine using Cosmos OS software. The founders have said that it “quickly understands what you need, connecting you to the right AI experience or service instantly.”
The Ai Pin has yet to be thoroughly reviewed (other than a few short tests), but the company demonstrated how it works in a video released last month. The founders showed how you can give it specific commands like “play music written by Prince, but not performed by Prince.” The device can then display the information on your hand via the projector and control music playback and more by tilting or closing your hand.
It can also answer questions by searching the web and send messages with modifiers like “add more excitement.” You can use it to monitor your health and nutrition, and Humane provides a central hub for images, etc., along with accessories like clips, battery cases and more. How well it performs its AI tasks in the real world, though, remains to be seen.
This article contains affilate links; if you click such a link and make a purchase, we may earn a commission.