Every year at SXSW in Austin, TX, Sony shows off a bunch of experimental projects. This year, the company introduced its Superception Head Light system, which is basically a helmet with a Sony MP-CL1 projector sticking out the front and attached Sony MDR-XB950 headphones on the side. Someone at Sony just strapped a bunch of devices together and attached a HTC Vive tracker to the back so that wearers can move around the room while the projection follows their movements.
Sony says the device is supposed to demonstrate how technology can affect human perception through our various senses. This demo attempts to teach wearers about how animals use their senses to get around the world — like how mosquitos use smell to find blood. The headphones played buzzing sounds while the projector attempted to show what the world would look like to a mosquito, with its smell alerts occasionally going off. It didn’t make much sense. Another demo showed the world through the eyes of a butterfly as the projector broadcasted a colorful, abstract mosaic onto the walls. I didn’t understand what I was supposed to take away from the experience, though I imagine it would have been more fun on drugs.
However! I will say thank you to Sony because I love Frankenstein gadgets like this one, even if the ultimate use case isn’t clear. You can walk around your house and play Netflix everywhere you go? Sony’s projector helmet is ultimately a technology in search of a problem. But plenty of gadgets would benefit from being a little more weird.