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Sony announces hands-free wearable as part of new Future Lab Program

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Sony has a new R&D project called the Future Lab Program, an effort to involve customers in the design process for eventual products. The program will "share concept prototypes with users while still at the development stage, and look to them for inspiration, leveraging their feedback to refine and evolve its projects," according to a press release.

The first of these concept prototypes is a wearable device currently referred to as N and hinted at in the mysterious video above. Sony says it has a "hands-free user interface that creates a new way of experiencing audio such as music and sound, allowing the user to receive audio information without having to insert any object into his or her ear." N will be shown off at SXSW next week along with some other Future Lab Program concepts, so we should be able to get a better idea soon enough.

The Future Lab Program is of a type with other recent experimental Sony initiatives like the Life Space UX series and the First Flight crowdfunding platform. We haven't seen any of these surface the next Walkman or PlayStation yet, but they represent a concerted effort from Sony to break away from commodified consumer electronics.