CES 2019 – “Homes and private spaces should be a relief from constant connectivity,” believe at mui Lab Inc. The Kyoto-based startup launched mui, an unassuming interactive wood panel that connects to IoT devices balancing the functionality of smart technology with a more intimate and relaxed lifestyle. Indeed, the Japanese word mui depicts a natural sense of mind.
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When in in sleep mode, muiappears to be a piece of natural wood. But it just takes a hand swipe across its surface to activate it. Once ON, a display composed of LED dots glowing from within allows you to talk, send and receive messages, check the news and weather.
It also connects with other smart devices. For example, you can switch and dimmer lights, set the room’s temperature, program the oven and more. When not in use, it humbly goes back to the sleeping mode. Just like a log.
Our homes are increasingly becoming smarter and smarter with technologies inexorably integrating into our private life. Indeed, they push us to check intrusive notifications. Does it make sense being interrupted by the ultimate fridge during a intimate cup of tea? mui acts as a bridge between focus and the outside world. It asks for limited attention to give you control and the information you need with a tech-healthy approach.
“Technology often feels cold and impersonal. Conventional devices require us to change our natural human behaviors to operate them. For example, smartphones make us hunch over and tap and swipe the glass screens.” Says Kaz Oki, co-founder of mui Lab to Archipanic. “Operating mui, on the other hand, is similar to touching wooden furniture. Wood feels natural, and the device uses your natural behaviors as prompts”.
“The world is expected to see as many as 40 billion new devices connected to the internet by 2020. It’s time that we thought about how to do away with screens and devices that make us work for them. mui brings together wood, a natural material that feels warm, and cutting-edge technology. This is just the first of many ideas we are developing.”
Indeed, the design is the first in a series of screenless, non-intrusive human interface devices (HID) that the start up is developing to reduce the number of black screens for smart devices in our living environments.
All images: courtesy of mui Lab, Inc.
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