The new Mui Board Second Gen is a smart home controller that doesn’t look like a smart home controller – The Verge

The smart home has had an interface challenge that goes back to its earliest days with The Clapper. When it comes to simple things, such as turning on your smart lights or adjusting the temperature in your home, voice control can be cumbersome and erratic, smartphone apps are fiddly and distracting, and sensors are not smart enough (yet) to always get it right. 

The smart home needs better control interfaces, and now that Matter is here, we may actually get them

Take, for example, the Mui Board. First previewed in 2017, it’s a literal piece of wood that doubles as a touch interface for controlling your home. The screenless, touch-sensitive, wooden display uses LED lights to show information such as the time, weather, or messages and controls for connected devices such as lighting, HVAC, and speakers. When it’s not in use, it’s just a piece of wood — not a digital photo frame or a sneaky advertising platform or a bright, attention-grabbing display.  

The Mui Board is a touch interface that can control smart home devices. Matter compatibility should bring much broader integration to the second generation of the device.

Image: Mui Labs

But the original Mui Board has never been really available for consumers to buy, and it was limited in its integrations, relying mostly on IFTTT. Late last year, Mui Labs revealed the Mui Board Second Gen — adding Matter compatibility (I got to try it out at the Matter launch event in Amsterdam). This week, at CES 2023, the company will be showcasing its capabilities as a connected controller using Matter, and spokesperson Akiko Moriguchi told The Verge that preorders for the new Mui Board will begin this June through Kickstarter for $599. Devices should ship in November.

One reason Mui Labs is able to move more quickly from concept to production this time is Matter. The new smart home interoperability standard means the company no longer has to spend time and money building integrations with each platform. It can work with everyone at a basic level, making it more appealing both to consumers and to the third-party device makers it is hoping to market its “Calm Technology” experience to. 

Mui Labs is showcasing its second-gen Mui Board and its concept of Calm Technology at CES 2023.

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