Sony Steps Up Wearable R&D Efforts, Teases ‘Hands-Free’ Project N

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New Future Lab Program will look to develop the next generation of wearables as Sony looks to improve its mobile fortunes

Sony says its Future Lab Program will help create a new generation of wearable devices and has hinted the first device under the new brand will be the mysterious ‘Project N’, which appears to be a hands-free wearable worn around the neck.

The company plans to release a number of concepts to the public in order to gauge customer feedback and opinions, which will then go towards the development of future Sony products.

New experiences

sonyfuturelabSony says that Project N comes with a hands-free user interface that “creates a new way of experiencing audio”, allowing the user to receive audio information without having to insert any object into his or her ear.

It will go on show at Sony’s booth at the SXSW Interactive Festival next month alongside a number of new concepts.

Sony, which has struggled to keep pace with some of its rivals when it comes to wearable technology, says that Future Lab will, “embraces an approach to technological research and development that emphasises an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.”

The company had previously announced a smart glasses product, the SmartEyeglass device, last year, which came with sensors including an accelerometer, gyroscope, brightness sensor and electronic compass, alongside a 3MP CMOS image sensor, capable of 3MP stills and QVGA video at 15 frames per second.

The company had even been looking at crowdfunding for its Wena Watch concept, which packed its technology into the device’s strap in an attempt to include more hardware and power.

Research firm Gartner predicts 275 million wearable devices will be sold in 2016, an 18.4 percent increase from this year’s figure, with numbers boosted by the continued strong performance of the Apple Watch.

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