Design

Mui's wooden 'Calm' hub is an Alexa stand-in that doesn't ruin your decor

This smart home hub is meant to make interacting with voice-assistants a more peaceful process.

Voice-assistants are great — or at least they are in theory. Sometimes, they’re not so great at listening, or worse, sometimes they listen too much. Then there’s one of my biggest pet peeves: the not-so-inconspicuous hardware.

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Mui wants to fix all that (or at least make the faults less irksome)

With a hub prototype called “Calm,” Mui wants to make your smart home experience more serene by streamlining features through an interactive, minimalist, piece of mountable wood that doesn’t harsh the vibe, aesthetically or otherwise.

Calm, which can be fixed on a wall or placed on a shelf, has several capabilities, including the ability, when paired to your smart speaker, to set timers through voice commands (i.e. “Alexa, tell Mui to set a timer). It can also turn your lights off or on, set their brightness, and If yelling at your smart speaker feels too brash, Calm even even allows you to write commands with a smart pen instead of screaming into the void.

With its covert display, it can also show you text messages or scheduled events.

The hub also allows you to “bundle” multiple smart devices, meaning you can use the aforementioned features to do things like set your temperature — simply write “chilly” on the board and Calm will turn on the heat. Want to check the weather? Calm’s got you covered there too.

When not in use, Calm deactivates its display lights and looks like a normal piece of wood.

According to Mui, Calm works with any device that uses Matter — a new platform aimed at unifying smart home devices. As far as pricing and availability goes, it’s unclear where or when you might be able to buy Calm.

Wherever that is, don’t expect it to be cheap. A now-expired Kickstarter campaign set a price of more than $500 per unit and Mui suggests a retail price of $999. We’ve reached out to Mui and will update with any further info.