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Can you wear an AI?

According to Coperni, yes

Can you wear an AI? According to Coperni, yes

The space between fashion and technology is forged by the desire for more visible innovation, an idea exemplified by Coperni’s string of jaw-dropping runway shows. Coperni, the Parisian ready-to-wear brand born in 2013, has grabbed headlines, and the public eye through its unique incorporation of cutting-edge technology within its fashion shows—including viral moments like the FW23 robot dog appearance and the SS23 spray paint dress donned by Bella Hadid. Despite virality, one would be hard-pressed to remember clothing items from the specific show outside of those moments, but this year, instead of clothes being the afterthought, a different approach was taken in partnership with the secretive startup, Humane. Capitalizing on the year’s trending AI conversation, the SS24 Parisian show featured model, Naomi Campbell, who donned a new device called the "Humane Ai Pin", and was the first person outside the company to wear the device in public. The show put a spotlight on the unique device styling versatility alongside subtly marketing it to those who may be most interested in getting their hands on it first. While Humane has kept much of its intention quiet until its unveiling on November 9th, the brand’s first post on Instagram, featured a still from a short video alluding to the ambitious goal of the company, make smartphones obsolete. 

The screenless, standalone device utilizes a software platform built specifically for AI, meaning it doesn’t need to be paired with a smartphone or companion device and it uses a range of sensors that enable natural and intuitive computing interactions, designed to weave seamlessly into the user’s day-to-day life. Additionally, it includes an AI-powered optical recognition and laser-projected display which will act as a projector that can beam visuals on the palm of your hand with the software powered by Qualcomm TechnologiesSnapdragon platform and hardware features magnets that help it attach to clothing. One of the biggest surprises is the device is not “always on” or  “listening” nor does it have a wake word, highlighting the attempted focus on privacy. Humane, as a startup, is also still very much under the radar— founded in 2017 by Imran Chaudhri and Bethany Bongiorno, both former Apple employees, who clearly have been inspired by their time there.

The design in particular of their debut product draws aesthetic similarity to the original slate of Apple’s iPods, proudly touting the stainless steel backing, curved edges, and overall clean look. The startup’s website currently promotes sign-ups for priority access although it doesn’t offer any information on when the device will be available for purchase or any pricing information of its own. Earlier this year they secured a Series C round of $100 million led by big venture firms, and surprise brands like Microsoft, LG, Volvo, and OpenAI, each with a key purpose in the the advancement of the tech. OpenAI in particular plays a big role via the incorporation of ChatGPT (potentially GPT-4, the most advanced model under OpenAI right now) into the pin software. More intel has slowly been unveiled as the debut draws nearer, including a “Trust Light” that goes on whenever the Pin camera, microphone, or input sensors are active to alert everyone when the device is listening or recording and, despite the product not being available, Time included it in its “Best Inventions of 2023” list. Imran Chaudhri said to PRNewswire, «Our first device will enable people to bring AI with them everywhere. We are at the beginning of the next era of computing, and believe that together we can begin the journey to fundamentally reshape the role of technology in people’s lives.»

The world of wearable tech within the fashion space is still the wild wild West as no particular brand has carved out an ownable niche or mainstream pathway forward. That isn’t to say there aren’t companies out there making significant headway including brands like Whoop, which leverages AI for more accurate real-time biometrics tracking no matter where the device is worn, Apollo Neuro, which uses wearables that emit specific vibrational frequencies proven to calm anxiety, reduce stress, and improve sleep or Pavlok, which uses AI to aid in habit formation via averse conditioning. Right now it is unclear AI’s ultimate role within the fashion or wearable spaces as it is still early days, with limitations to both hardware and software clearly creating boundaries but as brands like Humane continue to mature they could be poised to elevate both industries.

Unfortunately with most boundary-pushing advancements, the pricetag skews towards a higher tax bracket as the device may be upwards of $1,000, not including the necessary monthly subscription for data, further signaling the importance of the Coperni partnership and lifestyle needed to afford the device. AI and fashion are colliding and only time will tell as the devices become more and more mainstream how culture will choose to adapt to it, but, for right now, all we can do is wait and watch as the next frontier slowly unfolds before us.