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Circuit Breaker

What do you get when you add AI to an egg timer?

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The HelloEgg is a voice-activated kitchen assistant from RnD64 that looks to combine the functionality of an Amazon Echo and an egg timer in a single device.

The device, which looks like a sleek, black egg timer, uses a hidden display to display things like timers and a somewhere-between-creepy-and-adorable blinking eye that’s meant to add some personality to the HelloEgg's AI assistant. And while I’m not sure that having a miniature Eye of Sauron-esque obelisk stare at me while I make pasta is something I'm particularly looking for in my life, it’s an interesting attempt to help humanize a device intended for conversational interactions.

using the 3.5-inch screen for cooking tutorials seems especially baffling

The other features of the HelloEgg are a little more problematic. While I can understand the use of a voice-activated kitchen timer, and even the integration of a smart assistant makes some sense, using the 3.5-inch screen for cooking tutorials seems especially baffling. And smart features aside, the HelloEgg doesn't really seem to bring any practical features to the table that the (almost certainly cheaper) combination of a regular timer and a cookbook can already provide.

Those issues aside, the HelloEgg is planning to use an interesting approach when it comes to actually answering voice queries, combining AI-powered responses with an actual human-powered support team that will be able to respond to questions that the algorithm can’t handle on its own. RnD64 hopes to ship the HelloEgg in February 2017, although no price has been announced yet.

Update September 28th, 12:35PM: The screen size on the HelloEgg has been clarified to be a 3.5-inch display.