Sony has formed a new R&D facility called the Future Lab, and is showcasing some cool new prototypes at SXSW (South by Southwest) conference in the USA. Out of the various ideas that the company is showcasing at the event, two products are catching a lot of attention. One is a prototype projector that can make any tabletop into a touch-sensitive surface for augmented reality, and the second is a new neckband that can play audio unidirectionally upward to increase incident audio towards the ear.
The prototype projector, aka "Interactive Tabletop", uses multiple motion tracking and depth-gauging sensors to catch user input, and let the user interact with objects kept on the table by using augmented projection. This prototype is somewhat similar to Sony's Xperia Projector concept that was unveiled at MWC 2016, and also Lenovo's similar prototype shown some time back. Unlike the other two, this prototype can interact with physical objects kept within the projection area. As reported by The Verge, Sony demonstrated the projector with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, where illustrations from the book were projected on to the table's surface through gesture commands. This concept technology can have a range of applications, from education to product designing. Sony has not revealed any details about when this concept will go into production.
The other prototype technology is the new neckband, codenamed "Concept N". It features small, built-in speakers that fire upwards and unidirectionally, so that the user can hear audio better, but nearby people need not. This is bundled with a pair of open-ear headphones that use bone conduction technology, the same that Google used in Google Glass. The Bluetooth-enabled neckband can respond to voice commands and fetch information from Sony's partners such as Yelp, Accuweather and Strava. It also has built-in GPS and an 8MP camera hidden on the right, which only reveals itself when given the command, "Listen up Arc, take a picture".
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