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Sony's Future Lab will ask users for input on early prototypes

The program's first project will debut at the SXSW conference this March.

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Sony has a new research initiative called Future Lab Program that's more transparent than what you might be used to. Instead of treating the concepts that come out of the lab as closely guarded secrets, Sony plans to share the program's prototypes with you. In fact, it aims to use your feedback to refine those prototypes and make sure the company's heading in the right direction. Sony will show off Future Lab's first prototype at the SXSW conference, which is scheduled to begin on March 12th in Texas.

This first concept is codenamed "N," and all we know about it at the moment is that it's a wearable device with a hands-free interface. It promises a new way of experiencing music and sound without having to insert anything in your ear. You can watch its teaser trailer below, but it doesn't really shed light on what the device looks like -- not that you'd have to wait too long to find out. Since Future Lab intends to solicit feedback, we'll likely see and know more about "N" on the program's website, Facebook and Twitter accounts after its SXSW debut.

Sony has other product development programs in place, launched in an effort to conjure up new hits for the company. One of those is the Business Creation department it introduced in 2014, which offers employees the chance to get their most innovative ideas realized. The company also opened up a crowdfunding and e-commerce platform last year that internal teams use to raise funds for their experimental devices.

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