Sony wants to be more inclusive when it’s creating new products, and has announced that it will start its first Future Lab Program in San Francisco. The Future Lab will be a place where the company will share product concept prototypes with select consumers so that it can get feedback in order build the best products possible.
Of course, sharing secretive prototypes is a big step for a company like Sony — large tech companies, like Apple, generally remain pretty secretive about their products until launch. Still, we probably won’t see every product from the company go through the lab, but rather prototypes for exciting and experimental new technologies.
Getting access to the Future Lab isn’t free — you’ll need to shell out $100 to participate in the program, but you can wait to pay until after you’ve seen the prototypes. Unfortunately, access to the program will be on an invite-only basis, and applicants will need to agree to the Future Lab Program’s terms and conditions. If you can jump through those hoops, you’ll be asked to use a concept device for a specified period, and feedback will be collected through things like questionnaires, interviews, and meetings.
In general, the program sounds pretty interesting, especially for fans of Sony’s products and tech fans in general. According to Sony, the concept device currently being worked on is its Concept N prototype headphones, which were first unveiled in March, and are basically aimed at helping users listen to music and phone calls while still being able to hear the world around them. Not only that, but they do away with a bulky build and a cable, making them far more portable and easy to deal with. The headphones even have a camera, taking the concept of “hands-free” to a whole new level.
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