SXSW Interactive 2017 Innovation Award Winners

SXSW Interactive 2017 Innovation Award Winners
  • “Innovation” is typically painted with broad strokes in any industry awards program. At SXSW, innovation is painted in huge, rolling strokes that cover any and everything from autonomous cars to social media apps to AR and AI to music and movie technology.
  • The SXSW Interactive conference announced its SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards winners at an awards ceremony Tuesday evening March 14th. Thirteen awards and six special honors were presented to innovators for–according to SXSW– “exceptional work spanning categories from healthcare to sustainability, privacy & security, music, finance, communication integration and beyond.”

What can we learn by the award winner selection? A reinforcement of some of the themes and trends at SXSW 2017 this week: Out, this year: Uber and Lyft (boycotting Austin), Obama (he made a big splash by speaking at SXSW last year–seems like ages ago), human intelligence, wearable tech (but they gave it an award anyway). In, this year: artificial intelligence (and deep machine learning), VR (hoping it’s not the new 3D?), Biden, Fasten (bravely trying step into Uber's shoes), the Smart Cites movement.

In a special VR demo/exhibit at SXSW Interactive, one of many VR demos at Sx, Spatium: a VR trilogy inspired by Philip Treacy, a direct-view LED wall surrounded the viewer wearing the VR headset. A VR “journey” ensued, inspired by a famous hat by fashion designer Treacy.

A panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts selected the winners based on four criteria: creativity, form, function and overall experience. And separately, SXSW Interactive attendees voted for the People’s Choice Award at the second annual Innovation Award Finalist Showcase on Sunday, March 12, where the 65 finalists had the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work.


“The Interactive community extends our sincere congratulations to this year’s winners for this esteemed industry accolade and well-deserved recognition,” said Mason Stewart, SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Coordinator. “Over the next few years, we look forward to seeing many more outstanding achievements from the winners of the 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards."

The second annual David Carr Prize was awarded for the best essay submitted from writers, bloggers and journalists, was created last year to honor the late David Carr, a contributor to SXSW and the journalistic community. The essays follow Carr’s interest in the convergence of new media, technology, and culture. Mike Armstrong received this year’s David Carr Prize for his essay “The Heart of Something Heartless,” about morality and emotions in Artificial Intelligence.


2017 SXSW INTERACTIVE INNOVATION AWARD WINNERS:

HEALTH, MED & BIOTECH
Awarded for the new technology that best improves the quality, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care in health and medicine
PRIME Needle Free Injector by Portal Instruments, Cambridge, MA

INNOVATION IN CONNECTING PEOPLE
Awarded for the best new way to connect and communicate with others
Blendoor by Stephanie Lampkin, San Francisco, CA

INNOVATIVE 3-DIY
Awarded for making 3D printing technology more accessible or affordable, or to the Maker using such technology in new and exciting ways
3Doodler PRO by 3Doodler, New York, NY

MUSIC & AUDIO INNOVATION
Awarded for 2016’s best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music
HOLOPLOT Wave Field Generator by Holoplot GmbH, Berlin, DEU

NEW ECONOMY
Awarded to those redefining the exchange of goods and services, from the sharing economy, to virtual currency, to micro-finance, to mobile-device-payment systems and beyond
Blinker App by Blinker Inc., Denver, CO

PRIVACY & SECURITY
Awarded for 2016’s most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy
D3CRYPT3D by PADECA LLC, Chamblee, GA

RESPONSIVE DESIGN
Awarded for excellent digital design, creating the best-integrated interaction in terms of content, aesthetics, and functionality
My Grandmother's Lingo by SBS Online Australia, Sydney, NSW, AUS

SCIFI NO LONGER
Awarded for the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2016 was only possible in science fiction
DuoSkin by MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA | Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA

SMART CITIES
Awarded for innovations in eco-friendly or sustainable energy, transportation, and IoT technology, making life in the connected world a smarter, cleaner, greener, and more efficient Internet of Everything
V3 by Pavegen, London, UK

STUDENT INNOVATION
Awarded to the student with an exceptional interactive technology project or startup; both of which are the future
BionicM - Powering Mobility for All by Xiaojun Sun | JSK robotics lab at The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN

VISUAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE
Awarded for content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience
JourneyMaker by The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

VR & AR
Awarded for breakthroughs in augmented reality & virtual reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the Virtual a reality
Tilt Brush by Google, San Francisco, CA

WEARABLE TECH
Awarded for the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally “on you”
Halo 2 Made for iPhone Hearing Aids by Starkey Hearing Technologies | Karten Design, Eden Prairie, MN

SPECIAL HONORS

BEST OF SHOW
Finalist from the competition, who, overall, best exemplifies the values of innovation, inspiration and creativity.
The Sensel Morph by Sensel, Mountain View, CA

PEOPLE’S CHOICE
Voted on by the SXSW Interactive community at the second annual Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase
Johnson & Johnson CaringCrowd by CI&T and R/GA, New York, NY

BREAKOUT TREND OF THE EVENT
Trend that gained the most traction during SXSW Interactive 2017.
Deep Machine Learning

SPEAKER OF THE EVENT
Speaker from SXSW Interactive 2017 whose presentation makes the biggest impact on the digital community.
Joe Biden

MEME OF THE YEAR
Most ubiquitous meme that went viral in calendar year 2016 and that we just can’t get out of our heads or off of our screens
Prankster Joe Biden