Another AI wearable emerges. Will it work?

Humane’s AI Pin flopped. Could Iyo’s earbuds be the wearable AI assistant that catches on?

Humane’s highly-anticipated AI Pin flopped hard with negative reviews across the board. But that isn’t stopping another company from attempting to launch its own AI wearable.

The Iyo earbuds against a punk and blue background.

Iyo’s Iyo One was demoed by CEO Jason Rugolo at TED2024. Despite the name, it consists of two earbuds equipped with several microphones. WiFi models will likely cost ~$600, while cellular-equipped models will run ~$700, per Axios.

What does it do?

The promise is that Iyo One will function as a hands-free audio computer running both native and third-party apps.

  • AI assistants can help users with fitness routines, shopping lists, directions, translation, responding to emails and texts, and more.
  • Users can listen to music and alter environments. For example: by filtering out restaurant chatter and isolating their dining companion’s voice.

Rugolo — who started working on the product six years ago as part of X, Google’s moonshot factory — hopes to debut it by Christmas.

Sounds cool, but…

… wearables are tricky. Google Glass was widely mocked. Logbar’s smart ring and the AI Pin failed to live up to the hype. Meta is struggling to keep users engaged with its smart Ray-Bans.

Plus, these devices are expensive and comparable to another device that can do a lot of the same stuff: the smartphone.

Though they’re not wearable nor always hands-free, our phones do have voice assistants. The Verge’s Allison Johnson was able to cobble together an AI helper that aided with a Blue Apron recipe using a Pixel 8, a Pixel Watch 2, and earbuds.

For a wearable assistant to catch on, it will have to work, simplify our lives in ways phones can’t, and make us look cool while wearing it. Iyo’s earbuds are comically large, which could pose a fashion challenge.

Either way, we’re rooting for you, Iyo.

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