Sony has announced that its latest smart product the Xperia Ear is now available – and the device is an in-ear personal assistant intended to help people use their mobiles without the use of their hands.
Things like traditional phone calls can be done via conversational vocal interaction and simple head gestures.
It is hoped that the device will help to bring about new ways of communicating that do not stop the user from being able to take in the world around them – which can be something of an issue when focusing on a smartphone screen.
Useful information derived from the user's calendar schedule is provided by the Xperia Ear, in addition to on the go updates on subjects such as weather and the latest news.
It is powered by an adaptive platform dubbed Sony Agent Technology, which is what makes the device able to respond to verbal commands, such as asking it to make a call, perform a websearch, dictate a text message or email or navigate to a certain location using a map app.
Incoming messages from Facebook or WhatsApp can be read out to the user and responses can be initiated with gestures such as a nod, before instantly dictating a message for the device to transcribe.
Fashion photographer Dan Zoubek from Berlin, beauty and lifestyle blogger Mademoiselle Stef from Paris and London-based portrait photographer Tom Oxley were asked to integrate Xperia Ear into their lives as part of a documentary produced by Sony to promote the product.
Each contributor is shown travelling around their city to show how smart technology can help facilitate a busy, modern lifestyle. The viewer is invited into their individual worlds photographing up-and-coming artists, attending fashion briefings or simply catching up with friends.
Xperia Ear made it possible for each of the three to focus on the world around them while simultaneously managing appointments, taking directions for meeting locations and searching for new information.
Mr Oxley said this gave him a certain sense of freedom: “As a photographer, I like to be aware of the world around me and I found it a liberating feeling not being tied to a smartphone. I was able to travel and work around the city, knowing Xperia Ear would remind me of my schedule and messages.”