Sony turned 70 years old this year, and it came to SXSW in March to speak straight to the millennial audience the music, film and interactive festival largely attracts. The storied Japanese electronics brand’s message was diverse, and clear: this ain’t your daddy’s favorite Walkman and TV company anymore.

The creators of portable music are looking to reinvent their image through innovation and technology in order to regain a share of the marketplace the likes of Microsoft, Apple and Samsung have seized in years past.

The multinational conglomerate unveiled their Future Lab Program to the United States to share concept prototypes like open-ear headphones, personalized radios, haptic feedback technology and an augmented reality projector that turns any tabletop into an interactive, touch-sensitive display.

The program’s mission is to co-create future lifestyles—all with an open-door policy to procuring consumer feedback and improving the products, Jun Maruo, Sony Corporation’s research and development deputy president, told [a]listdaily.

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“The main goal for Sony is to speed up and strengthen the research and development without getting sidetracked with what other companies are doing,” said Maruo. “By watching the mega trends currently taking place, we need to create our own long-term vision that we can own. That will keep us in a position of leadership.”

Maruo, who’s previously been responsible for designing and developing the Sony Internet TV, was in Texas with his Tokyo-based team soliciting real-time feedback from consumers as researchers and developers soaked in the notes for further inspiration back at the office. Using customer feedback to refine prototypes is a refreshing tactic from prototypical product launches that are usually under CIA-like lock-and-key.

“We want to be human-centric, and open direct lines of communication with society,” said Maruo. “We’re looking to evolve and hope to soon chaperone a new era of gadgets.”

The first product from the lab is “Project N,” a virtual headphone/neck wearable prototype featuring a Bluetooth, hands-free user interface that creates a new way of experiencing audio such as music and sound without having to insert any object into the ear. It also has voice command and takes pictures.

“The best way for the prototypes to hit market is to find a very specific use case, and if you can show that to the user, then they will have a need for it,” said Maruo. “Right now there are limited use-case scenarios. After sharing it at shows and getting feedback, we have to increase the reasons to use it. One component we’re looking for is incorporating artificial intelligence.

“The products will get made if Sony’s top executives see consumers getting excited about it,” said Maruo. “It could happen in one year.”

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan