Looking for ideas: Sony pools consumers with Future Lab Program

March 07, 2016 // By Julien Happich
Looking at new ways to source ideas and broaden its design space around electronic consumer goods, Sony Corporation has launched a new research and development initiative it calls the "Future Lab Program."

Very much in line with Sony's previous crowdfunding campaigns where the company would leverage backers' feedback to finalize product development before a tentative commercialization, the new initiative aims to encourage the feedback and participation of consumers, with regard to how they would expect new technologies to fit into their lifestyles.

"The Future Lab Program embraces an approach to technological research and development that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future", the company wrote in a statement.

As part of this approach, the program will share concept prototypes with users while still at the development stage, and look to them for inspiration, leveraging their feedback to refine and evolve its projects.

A short promotional video shows multiple technology blocks being developed and changing hands, soon reaching prototype status before being handed over to would-be consumers who may experiment the new technology and define new use cases for it.

The first project from the Future Lab Program will be showcased at the SXSW Interactive Festival, beginning Saturday, March 12th in Austin, Texas. The project, known as "N," is a concept prototype featuring a hands-free user interface that creates a new way of experiencing audio such as music and sound, allowing the user to receive audio information without having to insert any object into his or her ear.

 

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