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Sony Xperia Ear concept gives you an 'ears-up'

Instead of blocking out sound, this Sony concept keeps your ear on things, so you can still pay attention to your environment.

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Aloysius Low
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1 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While it doesn't look like much now, the idea behind this prototype of Sony's Xperia Ear personal assistant is to let you hear the environment better, so you don't just focus on your music. While it sounds counterproductive -- almost the opposite of noise-cancelling earphones -- it lets you still pick up on traffic sounds (if you're cycling) or voices when you need to talk to people, without having to take it out of your ear canals.

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2 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

While the prototype isn't very comfortable to wear thanks to its rigid build, expect the final product to be made of a more flexible rubberized polymer that should adjust to your ear shape.

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3 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the Ear will potentially let you reply to messaging apps such Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, or get directions from Google. It's basically an ears-up display.

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4 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

And yes, you can also take phone calls with this and as futuristic as it sounds, the Ear would also be able to handle translations.

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5 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you bike a lot on busy roads and need to pay attention to traffic, or even get map directions as you go, this could potentially be the best thing ever.

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6 of 6 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony didn't reveal when the Xperia Ear will be ready, but did say it's definitely going to be a real product. No word on how much it will cost either.

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