Sony Launches Future Lab Program

Sony Corp. is using this month’s SXSW confab to debut a new research and development initiative, one that will share tech prototypes still in the development stage with the public in order to garner feedback.

Dubbed the Future Lab Program, the initiative will focus on R&D that “emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society,” the company said in a statement.

The first prototype from the lab, called “N,” will be a hands-free device that will allow a user to hear music and other audio without having to use any type of ear buds. Sony will show off the device March 12-14.

Future prototypes and technologies from the lab will bear similar single-letter names while in the development stage.

Sony’s launched similar, if less public, initiatives in the past, including a Seed Acceleration Program in 2014 that gave company employees the chance to offer up new tech ideas. That initiative resulted in several tech launches for the Japanese market, including a customizable watch and a universal remote.