Sony Square NYC is a gadget playpen, and a peek into the future

Usually a peek into the future involves a trip to Cape Canaveral, conversations in an MIT classroom, or a TED Talk. Yesterday I got a glimpse of the future just by walking down the street. And you can, too.

Sony relocated its New York City headquarters in February to a new location opposite Madison Square Park in the 20s (where the burger barons first opened up the Shake Shack – drool). On Thursday, the consumer electronics powerhouse will open the doors on a new feature of the building called Sony Square NYC: It’s a ground-level look at Sony’s latest arsenal of gadgets, and a window into some things the company is planning for the future.

Sony calls it a “brand experience showroom,” but it’s really more than that, explains Steven Fuld, senior VP of marketing for Sony.

We’re frankly looking for a lot of consumer feedback on what we’re doing, what they think, and how we can improve things

“There are definitely products that are on the market today, and there are plenty of products that are in innovation mode that are not quite ready to release,” he told me. “And we’re frankly looking for a lot of consumer feedback on what we’re doing, what they think, and how we can improve things.”

The facility is designed to be easily transformable, Fuld says. Movable panels at the back are currently holding an exhibit of artwork shot on Sony cameras, meant to inspire consumers with what they might do. Hidden beneath the panels, an array of flat screen monitors display upcoming Sony movies, video games, music videos, or other media.

At present, the front of the space holds a neat exhibit bridging concept gear, learning, and innovation. For example, a voice-activated, neck-wearable music player from Sony’s Future Lab Program dubbed Concept N projects a cone of audio around the head when worn and includes a voice-activated camera. Sony introduced it at Wearable World Congress in May. You can’t buy it yet, but you can walk into the store and try it for yourself.

A second installation is meant to showcase the potential of the Internet of Things. A series of tags can be connected via a simple drag-and-drop interface on a tablet to do stuff. Simple stuff: Take a picture, control a light, play a sound, connect a device, and so on. But the ease with which it can be reassembled and reprogrammed is quite impressive. Sony calls the project Mesh.

sony space nyc shows the best gadgets of today 02

The Square is meant to showcase current stuff too, of course. The art is meant as a reminder that it’s what you can do with any gadget that really counts. Photographers can even rent a drool-worthy collection of cameras and lenses for day use. Given what the artists are capable of, and given the best lenses Sony has to offer, what can you do?

“We wanted to give customers a chance to … play with products, to sometimes take products out into beautiful Madison Square Park across the street and try them out,” Fuld told us.

Gamers can test out the forthcoming PlayStation VR as well; I played The London Heist for a few minutes and was blown away by the immersive experience (and so were the evil doers I took out).

With gadgets for dads, grads, and everyone in between, the Sony Square is sure to impress. Check it out at 25 Madison Avenue in New York City.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Racing drones and robotic ping pong trainers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

The Sony Xperia 1 with Alexa is available for $100 off until August 26

Sony took the wraps off of three new phones at Mobile World Congress 2019, including the new Xperia 1, which is the company's new flagship phone and the first with a 4K OLED display with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

Amazon cuts a huge 46% off these Sony wireless noise-canceling headphones

The Sony WH-H900N wireless noise-canceling headphones are now on sale. While it normally sells at $350, Amazon cut 46% off its price, making it available for only $190. That’s a whopping $160 savings for you.

Is Sony’s smartphone business dead or can it be revived?

After its worst quarter ever, where Sony Mobile shipped less than 1 million smartphones for the first time, the future looks decidedly bleak. Can Sony’s smartphone business be turned around, or is it time to call it?

Borderlands might be influential but you’ll want to Catch a Ride to the sequel

Borderlands influenced several other first-person shooters, but the original game’s plodding pace and barebones story make it frustrating to play in 2019 and only make the wait for Borderlands 3 more difficult.

Alexey Pajitnov still hasn’t mastered Tetris, the game he invented 35 years ago

Tetris first fell into the hands of players in 1984 and still has the attention of players almost 35 years later. We caught up with creator Alexey Pajitnov to find out how he feels about the game today.

From GoPro to Lenovo, Trump tariffs would have raised prices on tech from Mexico

While the Trump Administration's efforts to place tariffs on Chinese exports to the U.S. have obvious consequences for American businesses and consumers, Trump's Mexico tariffs might have a much more immediate and significant effect.

Orwell’s 1984 was nothing like actual 1984. But it’s exactly like 2019

70 years ago today, George Orwell published 1984: a dystopian novel that sat squarely in the realm of fiction at the time it was published. Today, however, the book is an astonishingly accurate depiction of the world we live in now -- and…

Sea of Solitude deftly explores how loneliness turns humans into monsters

The latest EA Original Sea of Solitude tackles mental health issues, specifically loneliness. At EA Play, we previewed the adventure game and learned a lot about its beautiful world and important themes.

Casio’s making a G-Shock smartwatch, and it’s going to be tougher than any other

A Casio G-Shock smartwatch is in development, Casio’s general manager of design, Ryusuke Moriai, tells Digital Trends. When it arrives, the G-Shock smartwatch will be as tough as any timepiece bearing the G-Shock name.
Emerging Tech

Grub’s up? Lab-grown insect meat could be the future of food production

Would you switch to a lab-grown insect flesh diet for the good of our planet? Researchers from Tufts University believe this may be one way to solve some of our food production problems.

When customers don't carry cash, mobile card readers help small companies thrive

Small businesses that market directly to customers benefit from having a point of sale system ready for clients who don't carry cash. Card readers should support swipe, the newer chip standard, and various smartphone-based wallets.

Formula E races aren’t just exciting, they’re driving EV tech into the future

Formula E made its annual trip to the Big Apple, showing just how far the all-electric racing series has come. The cars are faster, and the racing is closer, but the tailpipe emissions are still at zero.
Emerging Tech

Life after launch: Inside the massive effort to preserve NASA’s space artifacts

The Apollo 11 mission put a man on the moon, but NASA didn’t necessarily preserve every step of the process. Researchers are trying to rescue the history on Earth and on the moon.