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Tab’s always-on AI pendant just got funded — but do we need it?

At a time when large language models (LLMs) are all the rage, companies have started building them into all sorts of hardware – and they are getting the attention for it.

Case in point: Tab, a wearable AI startup, just announced it has raised $1.9 million in seed funding at a reported valuation of nearly $20 million.

Tab’s value proposition is that it wants to bring an AI pendant, one that sits around your neck all day long, listens to your conversations and provides help in the form of insights, much like an intelligent friend. 

The technology is yet to ship but is getting significant attention in the community. Multiple venture capital firms and angels from the AI industry have participated in the seed round, including Caffeinated Capital, Rief Capital, Cory Levy, Vercel’s CEO Guillermo Rauch, Smol AI’s Shawn Wang, Solana founders Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal and Perplexity AI’s Aravind Srinivas. 

It joins other notable AI hardware offerings, including Humane’s AI Pin and Rabbit’s recently announced r1 AI pocket companion. 

Developed by Avi Schiffmann, a Harvard dropout who built platforms for Covid tracking and to help Ukrainians find shelter homes, Tab is an always-on AI pendant that captures your day-to-day conversations in low quality, be it with a friend or a colleague.

Then, using Bluetooth, it sends the audio to your phone and uploads it to the cloud, where ChatGPT transcribes and analyzes the information – providing a variety of insights (via smartphone).

“Tab is your super intelligent sidekick. Whether you’re building the future or feeling down, Tab understands you and is always ready to jump in with an idea or words of encouragement. Together, you’ll unlock your full potential and ultimately make the most out of being human,” Schiffmann wrote in an X post announcing the funding.

While Schiffmann is optimistic about the potential of the technology, he emphasizes that this is not meant to be a work assistant. Instead, he says that the technology will be more like a “super-intelligent” friend, therapist or coach that remains available round the clock, captures behaviors and helps out with relevant insights, words of encouragement and even opposing perspectives. 

“This kind of companionship will be far bigger than ‘AI GFs’ and will really improve people’s life trajectories. Real independence. This is AI for the masses,” the founder noted in another post.

He started working on the technology over a year ago and has prototyped a design that looks like a miniaturized version of Google Nest. The device is also up for pre-orders at $600 per unit, with shipping slated to begin sometime in the second half of 2024.

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While the idea of an AI companion helping out with our day-to-day life makes sense, given that it will capture our actual behaviors, the thing that may concern many is the sharing of personal conversations.

The success of this device largely depends on the willingness of people to wear it all the time and have their personal conversations with others recorded for analysis by an AI. Not to mention, the folks conversing with people wearing a Tab AI pendant may also not ok with them being recorded. 

Schiffmann, on his part, claims that the company will not store or share the information captured by the device – and provide a button to turn it off whenever needed.

However, it remains to be seen how he actually gets the ball rolling and gets people to own Tab. When phones with cameras first debuted, everyone was concerned about being recorded on demand. Now, in the age of TikTok, that’s the norm. The question is: Will Tab be able to make always-on AI companionship a thing?

Notably, this is not the only AI hardware in the making. While Tab focuses on ambient computing with audio, efforts have also been made to replace phones entirely. Just recently, Rabbit debuted voice-activated r1, a Large Action Model-powered device that streamlines complex tasks – from searching for information to filling a virtual grocery store cart and completing transactions at check-out – by learning and replicating user actions across various interfaces.

Then, there’s Meta smart glasses and the Humane AI Pin, another wearable replacement for smartphones that uses gestures, voice and a camera, when triggered, to provide contextual information. It ships in March.

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At a time when large language models (LLMs) are all the rage, companies have started building them into all sorts of hardware – and they are getting the attention for it.

Case in point: Tab, a wearable AI startup, just announced it has raised $1.9 million in seed funding at a reported valuation of nearly $20 million.

Tab’s value proposition is that it wants to bring an AI pendant, one that sits around your neck all day long, listens to your conversations and provides help in the form of insights, much like an intelligent friend. 

The technology is yet to ship but is getting significant attention in the community. Multiple venture capital firms and angels from the AI industry have participated in the seed round, including Caffeinated Capital, Rief Capital, Cory Levy, Vercel’s CEO Guillermo Rauch, Smol AI’s Shawn Wang, Solana founders Anatoly Yakovenko and Raj Gokal and Perplexity AI’s Aravind Srinivas. 

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It joins other notable AI hardware offerings, including Humane’s AI Pin and Rabbit’s recently announced r1 AI pocket companion. 

What does Tab AI pendant do and how will it help?

Developed by Avi Schiffmann, a Harvard dropout who built platforms for Covid tracking and to help Ukrainians find shelter homes, Tab is an always-on AI pendant that captures your day-to-day conversations in low quality, be it with a friend or a colleague.

Then, using Bluetooth, it sends the audio to your phone and uploads it to the cloud, where ChatGPT transcribes and analyzes the information – providing a variety of insights (via smartphone).

“Tab is your super intelligent sidekick. Whether you’re building the future or feeling down, Tab understands you and is always ready to jump in with an idea or words of encouragement. Together, you’ll unlock your full potential and ultimately make the most out of being human,” Schiffmann wrote in an X post announcing the funding.

While Schiffmann is optimistic about the potential of the technology, he emphasizes that this is not meant to be a work assistant. Instead, he says that the technology will be more like a “super-intelligent” friend, therapist or coach that remains available round the clock, captures behaviors and helps out with relevant insights, words of encouragement and even opposing perspectives. 

“This kind of companionship will be far bigger than ‘AI GFs’ and will really improve people’s life trajectories. Real independence. This is AI for the masses,” the founder noted in another post.

He started working on the technology over a year ago and has prototyped a design that looks like a miniaturized version of Google Nest. The device is also up for pre-orders at $600 per unit, with shipping slated to begin sometime in the second half of 2024.

But, do we need it?

While the idea of an AI companion helping out with our day-to-day life makes sense, given that it will capture our actual behaviors, the thing that may concern many is the sharing of personal conversations.

The success of this device largely depends on the willingness of people to wear it all the time and have their personal conversations with others recorded for analysis by an AI. Not to mention, the folks conversing with people wearing a Tab AI pendant may also not ok with them being recorded. 

Schiffmann, on his part, claims that the company will not store or share the information captured by the device – and provide a button to turn it off whenever needed.

However, it remains to be seen how he actually gets the ball rolling and gets people to own Tab. When phones with cameras first debuted, everyone was concerned about being recorded on demand. Now, in the age of TikTok, that’s the norm. The question is: Will Tab be able to make always-on AI companionship a thing?

Notably, this is not the only AI hardware in the making. While Tab focuses on ambient computing with audio, efforts have also been made to replace phones entirely. Just recently, Rabbit debuted voice-activated r1, a Large Action Model-powered device that streamlines complex tasks – from searching for information to filling a virtual grocery store cart and completing transactions at check-out – by learning and replicating user actions across various interfaces.

Then, there’s Meta smart glasses and the Humane AI Pin, another wearable replacement for smartphones that uses gestures, voice and a camera, when triggered, to provide contextual information. It ships in March.

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Author: Shubham Sharma
Source: Venturebeat
Reviewed By: Editorial Team

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