Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants — or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display.
“Mui lets you adjust the lighting and temperature of your home, check news and weather, play music, send and receive voice and text, and is programmable by developers to do even more,” Mui Labs said in a press release. “When in sleep mode, mui regains its original natural look, in a nod to calm design principles.”
A Mui Kickstarter campaign is now live, with the goal of raising $100,000 to fund development of the device by December 7.
Available in either sycamore (light) or cherry (dark), Mui looks like a slim and stylish wood panel until you swipe its touch-sensitive surface, which then glows to display information such as time, date and temperature. Out of the box, you can use it as an alarm clock, timer, voice mail reader, and message display.
Mui is outfitted with an internal speaker and sensors for touch, proximity, and CO2. It uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect to the internet, as well as other devices like Android smartphones.
You can use Mui to control other smart home devices such as lights (Philips Hue and Ikea Tradfri), thermostats (Nature Remo, Honeywell Lyric, Nest), Google Calendar, and Sonos music players. Mui’s features can be customized using IFTTT.
Mui Labs hopes third parties will add more functionality using a software development kit that supports integration with Google Assistant.
Mui Lab co-founder Kaz Oki showed a Mui prototype earlier this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and at the Milan Furnishings Fair. The name Mui is Japanese for silent, and Oki wanted to create something that would remind people of the natural world without sacrificing the convenience of modern technology.
“When designing mui, we thought that accessing information and important functionality through wood, a very warm material, would help ease the coldness and impersonal nature sometimes associated with technology,” according to the release.
If all goes as planned (on Kickstarter, sometimes it doesn’t), Mui Lab expects to begin limited sales of Mui for $499 to Kickstarter backers in December, with general availability for $999 to follow in April 2019.