Categories: Networks

CES 2023: Japanese Start-Up Shows Unique Smart Home Interface

Japanese start-up Mui Lab is bringing an unusual smart-home interface concept to the CES expo in Las Vegas – one which, when not in use, looks like an ordinary piece of wood.

The Mui Board interface, whose second generation is expected to begin shipping later this year, is to be shown at a pre-show event on Tuesday ahead of the official launch of CES 2023, which runs from Thursday to Sunday.

The event is a landmark for CES, which each year shows a broad array of consumer-oriented devices, from smart toilets to electric vehicles, in that 2023 marks the expo’s first return to a full-scale event since 2020.

CES was held virtually in 2021 and last year’s hybrid event attracted only a quarter of its usual attendance.

Image credit: Mui Lab

‘Calm Bedroom’

Kyoto-based Mui Lab is showing the Mui Board as part of CES Unveiled on Tuesday, where the start-up is to demonstrate its “Calm Bedroom” concept.

Mui argues that the touch-sensitive board, which displays information using LEDs when in use before reverting to an inert appearance in sleep mode, can promote calm in a frenetic, tech-saturated environment.

“People are feeling increasingly anxious and overwhelmed as more devices are introduced into their lives, and this problem is often magnified in our bedrooms, “ said Mui Lab chief executive Kaz Oki.

“Mui Board 2nd Gen redefines the human-technology relationship, turning ordinary objects into tools to fulfill our innate quest for comfort and human connections.”

Smart home standard

In Mui’s demonstration bedroom, when the curtain is drawn the change in ambient light prompts the bedroom lighting to illuminate.

Meanwhile, the board also displays a light timer. The user can then finger-draw a line across the board’s surface to indicate how long they want the lights to remain on before dimming and switching off, with a longer line indicating a later turn-off.

The latest version of the board adds the new Matter smart home standard, which allows it to connect to a broad range of devices planned to support the standard.

Matter, formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), is a proprietary royalty-free standard launched by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and the Zigbee Alliance, now called the Connectivity Standards Alliance, and also backed by Ikea, Huawei and Schneider.

Image credit: Mui Lab

Pre-orders

Version 1.0 of the standard was released last October, paving the way for the first generation of supported devices.

Mui Lab said it would begin taking pre-orders for the new Mui Board in June through Kickstarter, for $599 (£500) and plans to ship them in November.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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