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This natural alternative interface connects to the internet, controls smart home devices, and is a new platform for developers.
278 backers pledged $114,696 to help bring this project to life.

About

mui: Calm Design Device built with natural wood material project video thumbnail
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    • English
    • 日本語

$114,696

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What is mui? 

Out of sight until needed, Out of sight until utilized

(日本語サイトはこちら)

mui is calm design device built with natural wood that serves as a smart home control hub. Using the digital display that appears with a swipe of your hand, you can talk, send/receive messages, check the news and weather and control smart devices (lighting, thermostats, etc.) and more. When you are done, the display disappears, and the panel looks just like a piece of wood again.mui doesn't constantly demand your attention as smartphones do. mui is a “calm” device designed to create a relaxing, distraction-free digital environment, so you can enjoy quality time with your family.

Smart Speaker? Smart Display?  
You can use mui as Smart Display (Speaker)  with built in Google Assistant, no worries for barking. mui will stay calm, without barking to mui, you can activate via SWIPE and TOUCH for tasks.  Is this cool? 
 You can also TALK to mui, when you'd like to stay bed in a while! 
New User Experience of smart display/Speaker begins.

Built in Google Assistant
Built in Google Assistant
UX for built in Google Assistant
UX for built in Google Assistant


Why mui ?

1. Enables distraction-free digital communication. Allows us to be more mindful readers, more creative artists and better families.
2. Easy way to talk with your family, check news, weather, calendar information and more. No need to reach for your phone.
3. Hustle-free way to control connected devices, including smart speakers and smart appliances.
4. Serves as a smart speaker for Google Home and Alexa.
5. Less time looking at your phone and more time to spend with your family.

Please take a look at the short film here
          ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓

Enjoy distraction-free family time.
Unlike smartphones, mui doesn't get you hooked on it.

a family with mui (mui is not activated)
a family with mui (mui is not activated)

We aim to solve one of the biggest issues in today's society: Everyone is looking at their phones at the dinner table. 

mui enables you to enjoy a mindful life and spend quality time with your family. It helps you keep a healthy distance from social media, so you won't be endlessly on the phone -- an important digital life management skill for children to learn.  

We'd like to resolve ATMOSPHERE of nomophobia  -- as in no- mo(bile) phone-phobia-
We'd like to resolve ATMOSPHERE of nomophobia -- as in no- mo(bile) phone-phobia-

We believe "technology" could become synonymous with "calm" and "quiet." It can be a tool to create a serene living space while keeping us connected.

Digital native kids and smart device
Digital native kids and smart device

Calm Design Device

mui is an interactive wood panel that is activated by swiping your finger across its surface. Using the digital display that appears on the wood surface, you can talk, send and receive messages, and check the news and weather. You can also control connected devices in your home, office or public spaces, like lighting, thermostats, and so on. When you are done, the panel goes back to sleep mode and looks just like a piece of beautifully sanded wood again.   

mui at our friend's home in OSAKA, JAPAN
mui at our friend's home in OSAKA, JAPAN

In accordance with calm design principles, mui aims to minimize the “noise” of technology and create a calm and peaceful environment for you to live in while providing just the right kind of convenience catered to your needs.

mui beta at our friend's home in Osaka, JAPAN
mui beta at our friend's home in Osaka, JAPAN

Press Coverage

Our launch was covered by CNET. The Verge, Digital Trends and The Ambient called mui "the most stylish smart home controller yet."

 
                                                             

 Here is the link to the Gizmodo Japan, CNET Japan, AXIS, core77 articles.

How it works 

mui applications
mui applications
bed room installation (image)
bed room installation (image)

OUR STORY

At mui Lab, many of our team members are in our late 30s and early 40s and have busy family lives. We all struggle to balance our precious family time with the demands of technology. Instead of playing and talking with our children, we found ourselves glued to our phones and computers, desperately trying to “connect” with others. This saddened our children and disconnects us from our spouses.

mui Laboratory in Kyoto, JAPAN
mui Laboratory in Kyoto, JAPAN

Personal Stories    

mui in Hirobe’s home | Nobuyasu Hirobe (Co-Founder, Creative Director) 

Hirobe
Hirobe

Whenever leaving the office late at night, I send a good night message to mui for my 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. That always makes them happy.  

My daughter is mesmerized by the light slide dimmer switch that appears on mui. She slides it back and forth over and over, trying to figure out how the lighting in the room is connected to mui, turning the lights up and down every time she moves her little fingers. Her brother wants his turn, too. They fight for the switch and never seem to get tired of playing with it.

My wife’s approach to mui is more practical. She wanted to be able to turn off the last light from inside her bed at night. So, I used mui’s settings to make it happen for her.

She likes having mui within arms’ reach, so she can easily check the weather forecast in the morning when deciding what to wear.

We use a beta version of mui in our house. When I was removing mui to update it the other day, our kids had worried looks on their faces and asked: “Are we losing mui?” Apparently, mui became a necessity for my son.

mui Lab’s Creative Director Nobu Hirobe was thinking about mui being in a public gathering place when developing the concept for the device. He believed people, not the device, need to be the focus of the space.

mui at Oki’s home | Kaz Oki (Co-Founder, CEO)

Oki
Oki

My wife often comes home late from work. Exhausted and ready to “unplug,” she turns to “mui-san” (the nickname for mui in our household) to get done only what she wants and nothing more. For example, the weather forecast would quickly appear on mui and then disappear, letting us gently slip into dreamland. She loves having just the right level of access to technology with mui-san, instead of the glowing phones we used to look at before going to bed.   

Because mui lets us to control the lighting and appliance from another part of the house, the layout of the home no longer dictates our behavior. But we still wanted more from mui, including an option to shut off all lights with a touch of a button. This prompted us to develop the “Do Not Disturb” feature, which keeps the device on airplane mode until the alarm goes off in the morning.

mui Lab’s CEO Kazunori Oki is a newlywed. His and his wife both lead busy professional lives and typically have just three hours together each day. Oki did not want to waste any part of those three hours looking at his phone. mui was a perfect solution to this problem, and helped the couple stay connected.


Conclusion

mui is designed to create a modern living and work space where humans can thrive without being conditioned by technology. The intention is to stop technology from continuously demanding our attention, pulling us away from our loved ones while we try to enjoy our personal time. We can be more mindful readers, more creative artists, better families, thanks to the boundaries mui sets around our personal space and time.

Our homes will undoubtedly grow “smarter” as technologies further advance. There will always be some level of gaps between how technology works and how humans are meant to live. Still, mui empowers people to live their lives in the way they want by minimizing technological barriers. We envision mui as a tool which will help you create your desirable lifestyle, just like your favorite furniture which you choose to design your living space.


Team: Assembly of Experienced Technology & Design talents 

Tech Team
10+ years experience of User Interface Technology Industry out of Japan for Automotive UI, Mobile Phones and other Hardware
From Sony, Mitsubishi, SII, Epson, NISSHA, Fujitsu etc

Design Team
10+ years experience of Color Material Finish, Industrial Design and UIUX design for global smart devices
From UNION, NISSHA 

mui Lab Team in the forest
mui Lab Team in the forest

Use Cases 


Design

-Color, Material and Finish(CMF)

mui was trying to hide all product surface into space. 
We have tested multiple times integrating mui function into architectural wall. But this trial was too early to be used. We have changed our mind to make object first to investigate future possibility of mui. 

mui dimmer prototype  in the wall which is our final goal
mui dimmer prototype in the wall which is our final goal

We have been integrating mui electronics into wood, which is current mui product. And it's been 2years+ investigations because of difficulty of wood material. 

mui discoveries of materials
mui discoveries of materials

 
When it comes to design materials for architectural spaces, at first, we have selected fabric, glass, stone, and wood,  not artificial materials at all.  In the end, we have reached wood as the best material for mui based on its material history with people. That's wood. 
In regards to wood concept, we had a discovery of wood effect by team trip to HIDA forest region in central Japan where is center of wood and craft technology since 7th century. 

mui team journey to HIDA Forest
mui team journey to HIDA Forest

We found many stories of wood and different human lifestyle follows nature in the forest region, not follows lots of digital information/devices. 
Which we found stories are essential concept of mui.  

Touch Wood! Knock on Wood!
Touch Wood! Knock on Wood!

 mui finally became  fusion of wood and digital since then. 
 As you may aware, one of biggest feature of mui is using real wood material. 
 Since electronic smart devices have been making our homes feel cold and sterile. Designed to create a peaceful and relaxing space instead, mui uses natural wood as material. The beautiful look of the sanded sycamore, Cherry, Maple or Ash grains blends in with the room’s décor and furniture, allowing you to forget the device’s existence when not using it.

As natural color variations, we chose the wood grain pattern with the warmth of the hardwood and aimed for harmony with furniture and interior. We focused on a unique stripe pattern called "Fu", but it is not good if this is too much and too strong or too little and too weak. We select materials with this pattern in just good range and strength.

As dark color variation is still being verified. We hope to be able to update the information later. we think we could use materials commonly used for furniture like cherry and walnut.

It is a good point of natural materials of wood that it differs one by one. We would like you to have your only mui in hand.

 USER EXPERIENCE DESIGN

Hidden Technology
Hidden Technology
QR code capability
QR code capability
 project video thumbnail
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sound
When wood is touched, mui will be activated.
When wood is touched, mui will be activated.

Set up & Connectivity

-Hardware setting 

mui is on the wall | a house in Osaka, Japan
mui is on the wall | a house in Osaka, Japan

This will be instructed by instruction in the box. We are considering easy set up on the wall mount method. Our hardware team and architects are working on smooth set up manual and protocols. 

-Software / Wifi Settings  

Setting up mui is under mobile app for connecting with other services. 
Apps are going to be ready for iOS and Android. 
Here is some setting protocols via mobile app. 
mui setting app (to be released in Spring 2019)
mui setting app (to be released in Spring 2019)

  Via mobile app, IFTTT will be integrated with mui. We are creating mobile console images for app settings. Smart Home Gadgets and IoT devices will be connected via this app.

officially ready for IFTTT
officially ready for IFTTT

https://ifttt.com/muilab
 
mui has been officially ready for IFTTT since Summer 2018. Via IFTTT, mui can connect with Google Home, Amazon Echo, Facebook, Twitter, Slack, Uber, Ring, Domino’s Pizza, Sonos, Philips Hue, New York Times News and other Smart Home Gadgets and Services. Please feel free to customize mui with your preferred applications. Triggers and Actions will be extended in the future.

Beyond IFTTT, mui can be connected with Google Home and Amazon Echo ecosystems via the cloud and API.

Alexa & Google Home
Alexa & Google Home

Engineering Specs

mui 1st 

Product Dimension: W570xH73xD26(mm) 
Item Weight: TBD 
Input: Touch Panel 
Network: Wi-Fi 
Microphone: 1 installed 
Speakers: 1 installed 
Power Source Type: AC100-240V(50Hz/60Hz) 

For Earliest Developers

developer's SDK(image)
developer's SDK(image)

We will provide HAT for Raspberry Pi and SDK for Android for all early adopter developers of the mui playform. With your Raspberry Pi and Android ecosystem skills, you can create new and original UI/UX/Services with mui and other connected devices and gadgets. Please join our early adopter developer community for new IoT UI/UX.
We are excited for you to join us!

SDK and mui zero L Beta (only 50 units) Including
・mui zero L Beta itself
・mui SDK for Android
(Full package of control sample for mui display & touch panel )
・Support Community by English /Japanese language only
・mui Special HAT for Raspberry Pi
Not including Raspberry Pi3 Model B. Please purchase your own Raspberry Pi3 Model B via certified vendor.  https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/raspberry-pi-3-model-b/ 

 mui zero L Beta(*)
*ONLY Available for Developers KIT Product 

Product Dimension: W676xH87xD29(mm) 
Item Weight: TBD 
Input: Touch Panel 
Network: Wi-Fi 
Microphone: 1 installed 
Speaker: 1 installed
Power Source Type: AC100-240V(50Hz/60Hz) 

mui zero Beta : Large is about 100 mm larger than mui 1st edition.
Color is only available is natural wood.

100 sets of bate (mui zero) have been developed recently and we'll provide 50 sets of mui zero for developers with earliest delivery for creating new IoT device for smart home together on our platform. Completion level of mui zero is beta level. We'd like to work closely with our early adopter developers, and we would like to discuss with each developers how we can work together.     

Timeline


timeline
timeline

Risks and challenges

mui is a brand new type of product and has not been used or reviewed by general consumers. mui Lab is inviting mui users to provide feedback and ideas to help further develop and expand the product’s features and use.

mui uses natural wood as the surface material. Although the wood has a protective coating over it, the texture of the wood may change over time. Natural materials, such as wood, are also prone to shipping damage. mui Lab may also reconsider using certain kinds of wood as material. This means there is a small chance that some backers may be asked to select an alternative wood material in place of their original choices of wood.

mui comes with an AC power adapter 100-240V. In some areas, users may need to use their own electrical currency converter plug with the adapter.

mui Lab will work to further improve the design and functionality of mui over the next several months
its early adapters (Kickstarter backers) before delivering the rewards. The product will have updated features, which may be different from those of the prototype. mui Lab will keep its backers posted on the progress and changes it makes through Kickstarter.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    SUPPORTER

    Thank you for your support! We'll put your name on our website as "special thanks to".

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    Pledge $20 or more About $20

    POSTER & STICKER SET

    Thank you for your great support! You'll receive a poster & sticker set. You can have actual size mui poster to demonstrate what mui will look like on the wall of your home or public space.

    Shipping free.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    MUI STYLE CUTTING BOARD

    Wooden cutting board with mui Logo mark. This wood material will come from Hida, Gifu Japan where mui concept has been fixed. We'd like to share a piece of wood from forest of Hida as contribution to great nature of Japan/Earth. Amount of profit will be shared with ecosystem of Hida forest.
    Size 250mm(W)*73mm(L)*13mm(D) TBD
    Wood material will be several woods from Hida, Japan.

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    Pledge $499 or more About $499

    SUPER EARLY SPECIAL (Limited)

    One mui device for early adopters. Choose wood finish from Dark or Natural (Retails for $999)

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    Reward no longer available 100 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $499 or more About $499

    CES Innovation Award Special

    Special Pricing again for celebrating CES2019 Innovation Awards!
    One mui device for early adopters. Choose wood finish from Dark or Natural (Retails for $999)

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    Limited 22 backers
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    Pledge $499 or more About $499

    muiの日本からの購入方法(Super Early Birdと同じです)

    日本円換算約56,362円(US$499)のリワードです。muiのアーリーバードが1台購入できます。キックスターターが目標に達し、商品化が成立後、配送は2019年9月を想定しております。日本国内輸送費が別途1500円(仮)程かかる想定としております。(US$12)こちらは最も安い配送方法を検討致します。
    木の素材選定は、ダークかナチュラルよりお選びいただけます。こちらはキックスターターでのゴール達成時以降にアンケートをEmailでお送りいたします。

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    Pledge $599 or more About $599

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL

    One mui device. Choose wood finish from Dark or Natural (Retails for $999)

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    Limited 11 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $999 or more About $999

    EARLY BIRD FOR DEVELOPERS. LIMIT OF 50.

    One mui device
    * mui SDK
    * connector for Raspberry Pi

    Sycamore-Natural wood finish only.

    This version will only be available through Kickstarter and your LEAD TIME for receiving mui will be expedited. This beta version of mui is only available for developers. You are going to be the earliest adopter of the mui platform and we will support your projects as part of our community.

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    Pledge $1,099 or more About $1,099

    mui IN TWO ROOMS

    Two mui for two rooms in your home or public spaces. For instance, having mui for bed room and living room, or in your lobby and a meeting room. Choose wood finish from Dark / Natural (Retail $2,000)

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    Pledge $1,299 or more About $1,299

    mui SPECIAL FOR WOOD LOVERS

    One mui device. Choose special wood finish. Oak - Natural, Cherry - Amber, Maple - Amber, Ash - White. (Reail $TBD)

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    Pledge $1,699 or more About $1,699

    mui IN THREE ROOMS

    3 mui for you bed room, living room and kitchen or kids room. Or, put mui in several spaces in your office, hotel, showroom or co-working spaces. Choose wood finish from Dark / Natural (Retail $3,000)

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    Limited 2 backers
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Funding period

- (50 days)