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Circuit Breaker

This internet-connected block of wood is also the most elegant smart home display

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If loving an internet-connected block of wood is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. Mui is an interactive display that can be used to control lighting, set the temperature, and show messages, all while blending into the aesthetic of the room it’s in.

Mui was created by Kyoto-based company Nissha, which specializes in capacitative touch sensors, most recently used in the Nintendo Switch. It works with Philips Hue light bulbs and Net LED, with more smart light integrations to come. It’s just a prototype for now, so the companion app to control the lights, and IFTTT and Alexa integrations are still in development. Currently, it uses myThings, an Internet of Things service by Yahoo Japan.

Photo by James Bareham / The Verge

The name “Mui” comes from a Japanese word meaning “silence,” which I’d say describes the look and feel of the display pretty accurately. Its design is meant to be “out of sight until needed, and out of mind until utilized.” It’s a lot more beautiful to look at than other smart home products, like the Nest Thermostat E or the Alexa-integrated Ecobee Thermostat, and if the fabric-covered gadget trend from Google Home and the new Echos are any indication, smart home tech is moving toward warmth, not coldness.

Image: Mui

Mui plans to launch on a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter around June 2018, in the $900 to $1,200 range. That’s pretty hefty, but it could be worth it if you’re into minimalist-chic design. If this could be programmed to show MTA train delays, I almost wouldn’t be mad if the information was delivered to me via this beautiful wood.

We had a chance to take a look at Mui in person, and it’s pretty gorgeous. The version we saw was sycamore wood, but other prototypes of mirror glass, red fabric, and marble have been made as well. Take a look through the photos below and dream about how nice this would look in your apartment someday.