Sony and audio innovation have always been a perfect fit. Nowadays, the pace might have slowed down a bit, but the Japanese giant still has some interesting concepts to offer from time to time, like the new N headphones.
The device more or less follows the neck bracelet form factor, like on the LG Tone or the Samsung Level U. However, the band itself holds speakers that are specifically designed to direct sound upward to the listener. This produces an interesting effect, where the wearer hears the music and also his or her surroundings, while advanced acoustics help keep splash out noise at a level that Sony claims will generally be drowned out easily in most every environment.
This seems to be the primary goal of the Concept N headphones – providing some background music, while still allowing you to be aware of your surroundings on the street, where is is most important or even during a conversation – a personal soundtrack for your life! As an added bonus, Sony has also included a pair of more traditional ear buds that connect to the main device and take the music a little closer to your ears. However, traditional might not be the best term here, as the ear buds feature an odd cone shape with a hole in the middle. The end goal is the same – retain awareness for the surroundings.
In keeping with current trends, Sony has also extended the functionality of Concept N beyond simply being a Bluetooth audio accessory. The device also comes with a camera and voice controls, which the OEM has programmed to respond to instructions beginning with “Arc”. This way, you can snap shots instantly and we have no doubt that there will be some form of smartphone device control integrated in the future.
Concept N was demoed at SXSW and is the brain child of Sony’s newly formed R&D outfit – Future Lab. It is still in beta phase and we can definitely expect similar concepts and refinements in the near future.