What is Humane? There isn't much information out there about Humane - the stealth Silicon Valley startup that leaves much to the imagination. But with a recent $30 million round of funding (from some very notable angels & VCs) and an eye-catching domain & landing page, heads are starting to turn and anyone paying close enough attention is starting to wonder. Here are some notes we managed to gather and some theories as to why we think Humane is actually an Augmented Reality (AR) company.
Humane focusing on augmented reality (AR) actually makes a lot of sense when you take a look at their site. The landing page shows a single human with their head up, seemingly looking out into the world, while everyone other human around them is staring down into their phones. Just from the landing page alone, one can assume that the single human probably has some sort of other hardware they're interacting with, most likely either smart glasses or smart contact lenses. Although, new information has come out from Silicon Valley insiders that suggest Humane might actually be a camera company first (with a continuously recording device) and an extremely smart AI that is constantly analyzing the data the camera records. There may be an accompanying ear piece that connects to the camera as well. Think of it as a next generation Siri or Alexa that lives in your ear, except it also has eyes, a futuristic operating system like the movie Her.
Their site offers a few hints as to what Humane will be when they launch. There’s talk of a “new computing platform” that pushes the limits of what we know of how humans interact with hardware and software.
Sam Altman, CEO of open.ai, and investor, says Humane “lets us focus on each other and the world around us.”
Lachy Groom, an early Stripe employee, and investor, states that “technology should fade into the background and enhance our daily life.”
There’s talk of Humane allowing people to walk around and “make eye contact” and “forget that technology is present.”
All of this leads us to believe that a pair of AR glasses or AR contact lenses (or a smart camera) is in the works. Those technologies will allow humans to interact with hardware and software, all while looking at the world around them, in a natural way.
The two co-founders of the company, Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, have spent a combined 28 years (or so) at Apple. They launched macOS, iOS, the iPod, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Mac, Apple TV, and much more. Their founding team includes seasoned vets from the likes of Oculus, Molekule, Airbnb, Uber, & more.
A team this heavy in hardware and large scale software makes sense if they are developing something for Augmented Reality.
The San Francisco, CA based positions they’re hiring for are really interesting and does give us some sort of insight as to what kind of company Humane is. While they never flat out say anything AR related, at all, on their site, they are hiring for positions like Camera Tuning Engineer, Camera Design Engineer, Opto-Mechanical Design Engineer, and hardware roles for “consumer products”. At hire.AR - we have a number of augmented reality jobs that Humane is hiring for.
They’re clearly developing something that will have some sort of camera or lens that sees out into the world, and with all their mobile software and machine learning roles, the input from the camera will likely be processed on a mobile device.
The time is ripe for a shift in computing. We had personal computers, and then the internet, and then smartphones. It’s for the next frontier the finally, truly, combines the internet with the real world, all in a seamless experience that feels natural for humans. Augmented reality glasses, or augmented reality contact lenses, are the only devices that can make the possible (until neural implants) and the Humane team is certainly experienced enough to make this happen.
With Facebook launching Project Aria in September 2020, and partnering with Ray-Ban on a pair of “smart glasses” for 2021, and rumors of Apple launching their own AR glasses sometime between 2021-2023, the industry seems poised to take the next step in computing, and we’re all waiting to see what happens.
Does it look like a stylized eye/iris to anyone else? Or is it just us?