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Sony's crazy concepts turn Granny's face into a touchscreen table (pictures)

Sony has a bunch of concept contraptions at this year's MWC, including a projected touchscreen for family photos and a very polite earpiece.

1 of 12 Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Sony has shown off a couple of neat new phones at this year's Mobile World Congress, but it's this collection of four wacky concepts that really captured my imagination. The devices are all of the "connected" variety, and mostly act as personal assistants -- it's how they give you the information you need that makes them somewhat bizarre.

With the exception of the Xperia Ear, which I'll come to later, all the concepts are just that -- concepts. Sony has no plans to put them into production any time soon. It's fun to get a glimpse into what sort of thing the electronics giant is cooking up though.

First up is the Xperia Projector. This stubby box sits on your table and projects images onto the surface. It's connected to the Internet and will show all kinds of information such as the weather or your calendar appointments. It'll even beam down recipes.

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You can make calls from it too and bring up huge images of your loved ones to display across the surface of the table.

The Projector tracks your hand movements, allowing you to interact with the images much like you would on a smartphone. Swipe left and right on the table to move through information panels and tap on items to look further.

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It essentially turns a standard dining room table into a giant touchscreen device.

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It's ideal for making your granny's face into a useful touchscreen, Just like she always wanted.

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The Xperia Agent does a similar set of tasks -- set it up and it'll beam down helpful information like the time, date, traffic on your route to work, or incoming notifications.

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While the Projector is more about showing information on a large area for the whole family to enjoy, the Agent is more for the individual, providing helpful tidbits when you're on the way out of the door.

There's a camera on the top that swivels round on its own, but Sony wasn't able to tell me why. "It's just a concept," I was told. "We might find a use for the camera later on."

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The Xperia Ear is the only one of the concepts on show that Sony currently plans to put into production. It's a Bluetooth headset at its heart, but rather than simply allow you to make calls, it'll read a variety of information to you throughout the day.

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The Ear will patiently read out your messages, weather reports, calendar appointments and various other nuggets from your synced phone.

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It also welcomes you in lovely soothing tones when you first cram it into your earhole.

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Finally, the Xperia Eye -- a camera that you clip to your clothing. Like an overbearing parent, the Eye is always watching, snapping images throughout the day when it thinks it's necessary.

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It's got a 23-megapixel image sensor inside, along with face detection software. When it detects people smiling around you, it assumes it's a lovely scene and goes ahead and snaps an image. Don't wear this if you're regularly around people who smile at your misfortune.

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A clip on the back allows you to attach it your clothes.

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