The Internet of Things and home automation have seen spectacular growth over the last few years, and with that an entire new market full of smart home assistants. Amazon, Google, and Apple all have products designed to help you control all of the smart devices in your home. Amazon recently announced an entire range of products with Alexa built in, which proves there is a market for more individualized smart home assistants. mui, which just launched on Kickstarter, should be particularly interesting to those of you who aim for a minimalist aesthetic in your homes.
Unlike the plastic cylinders and cubes that are most smart home assistants, mui is simple plank of wood. It looks like something that would blend seamlessly into a home decorated by Jony Ive or Dieter Rams — and it will have a $999 retail price tag to match. The $499 Kickstarter Super Early Bird special will be available in either natural or dark wood, but those of you willing to spring for the $1,299 Wood Lovers package will have your choice of oak, cherry, maple, or ash.
The creators of mui are obviously targeting an upscale, luxury market here, and that carries over to the electronics. When mui is activated, tiny LEDs that aren’t normally visible come to life to display messages, weather information, and control buttons. It doesn’t integrate any of the voice assistants we know, like Alexa or Cortana, but is advertised as having similar capabilities. Compatibility with common IoT devices may be hit or miss, however.
mui is a product intended for a very specific kind of buyer; if that’s you, you can head over to the Kickstarter page to back the campaign. It’s currently at about a quarter of the funding goal, and the campaign is running until December 8th. Most rewards should ship in September 2019.