Last week, Sony invited me to check out the Sony Innovation Lounge and pop-up store in San Francisco. Running now through June 10th, the space beautifully displays both current product from the Life Space UX collection, as well as visionary prototype products from the company’s Future Lab Program.
Life Space UX includes products that transform everyday space through technology and design. As a tech-industry veteran myself, I am always on the lookout for products or services that can not only improve our experience outdoors, but can also help us bring the outdoors inside. Fulfilling this exact mandate, two products at the Sony Innovation Lounge caught my eye — the Glass Sound Speaker and the Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector.
Most of us spend quite a bit of time and effort taking photos outdoors, trying to capture what it feels like to be there. I think it’s sad that once we get home, all these pictures remain on our phone, laptop, or Instagram feed, rarely to be looked at again. The Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector lets you project photos or video on almost any surface in your house, enabling you to not only relive your outdoor experience, but also transform an indoor space into something that feels like the outdoors — no need to buy fancy artwork to decorate your walls.
And the next time you have a backyard campout with your kids or friends, simply bring the projector outside to play a movie on the side of your tent or house. The 2-pound projector features a built-in rechargeable battery so you can take it anywhere. You’ll get around 2 hours of projection time — just enough for a showing a movie. The portable projector is controlled by an app on your phone, and when not in use for photos, you can choose to project a clock on your wall, weather forecasts, etc.
The Glass Sound Speaker is not only beautiful — it looks like a candle lantern — but adds a great ambience in both sound and light to any outdoor setting. The glass tube tweeter plays crystal-clear audio in every direction, for music that sounds as if it’s being performed right in front of you. A built-in 2” woofer and translucent passive radiator ensure you hear both the bass and midrange frequencies. Why bring a clunky wireless speaker to your campsite or backyard barbecue when you can have something that adds a bit of beauty and ambience. You can pair two of the Glass Sound Speakers to listen in either Stereo or Double Mode. The speaker connects with your phone via Bluetooth and is controlled using an app — the battery will last for up to four hours of listening time.
While the current Life Space UX products are super cool, by far my favorite product was one from the Future Lab section — the N. A concept prototype at the moment, N is a neckband-style wearable that interacts with your voice commands.
With a built-in open air speaker system, you can enjoy music on the go and gain access to personalized information such as weather and news, or even have your mail and social feeds read to you. This so-called Personalized Radio Service can either deliver information based on your location or in response to a voice command, much like Siri or Alexa.
The N wearable houses not only a set of speakers, but also an HD camera that takes both video and photo stills — all operated by voice command. The device automatically adjusts the angle of the camera to reflect your line of sight so you don’t have to worry about shooting nothing but pavement on your ride. Designed with runners and cyclists in mind, N will also track your activity, give you status updates during your workout, and automatically sync with Strava when you are done.
I liked N so much I decided to take part in Sony’s Future Lab Program N. For $50, you can walk out of the pop-up shop with your own N and not only have fun playing around with all the features, but give feedback to Sony researchers to help make the product even better. Once I have had chance to play around with the wearable for a while, I will post a full review — so far it has been super easy to set up (an app on your phone walks you through the process) and riding around with music without the need for headphones has been fun.
If you are in the Bay Area, I encourage you stop by the Sony Innovation Lounge.
Sony Innovation Lounge
719 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 11:00am – 7:00pm