A distant fan spins softly enough to hear. A neat home vibrates with comfort. Warm tea is ready to sip, and over the velvet reading chair, offset slightly from a floor lamp, a maple-wood mui might rest on the wall.
Operating inside this smart home control hub, Google Assistant suddenly feels different—especially different than the plethora of tech enabled devices we saw at CES. Instead of a clipboard-toting AI, ready to help you Google your way out of boredom, listening to you from an oblong speaker or phone, there is just a stable presence on the wall that waits calmly for reasonable requests.
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mui, who plays well with other prominent smart home devices such as Sonos and Google Home, is scheduled to launch September 2019—$499 for initial adopters, $999 once shipped—with consumers’ choice of a Sanded Sycamore, Cherry, Maple, or Ash.
Graze a hand over its wood, and mui lights up. It does not vibrate constantly from the ether of an unkempt digital closet in your pocket, as unorganized smart phones often do, but it does display gentle typefaces and icons when summoned. Without an endless sea of content to wake through, reading and listening to news and loved ones feels more thoughtful.
In the Kickstarter video, users are seen communicating with these wooden panels on the wall as if they were older, wiser friends – not assistants, but trusted keepers of the home who remind you news, prepare you for weather, manage room temperatures and deliver your messages calmly.