SXSW Interactive Announces 2018 Innovation Awards Winners

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 General News
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Winners named in 13 categories and 6 special honors

AUSTIN, Texas, March 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March

9-18, 2018) recognized the most exciting tech developments in the world with its 21st annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards ceremony Tuesday evening.

Two-time SXSW Innovation Award winner Elliot V. Kotek emceed this year's ceremony, which celebrated finalists' and winners' multifaceted and diverse ecosystem of technological achievements and creative work. 

Thirteen awards and six special honors, including Best of Show, People's Choice, Breakout Trend of the Event, Speaker of the Event, Meme of the Year and the David Carr Prize, were presented to esteemed innovators for exceptional work spanning categories from AI & machine learning, to the ever-evolving world of wearable tech, music & audio innovation, healthcare, responsive design, and more.

Awarded for the best essay submitted from writers, bloggers and journalists, Amanda Gail was this year's recipient of the David Carr Prize. Created in 2016 to honor the late David Carr, a friend and great contributor to SXSW and the journalistic community, Gail's essay focuses on the mind-blowing changes the future will bring, and how humans still need to figure out what to do with them, something that David Carr himself seemed to understand. 

Honoring those exceptional trail blazers whose work has helped shape the connected world and who continue to guide the direction of the digital industry, this year's seventh SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame inductee was Eli Pariser, author, online organizer and the President of Upworthy and GOOD Worldwide. During the ceremony, Eli stressed the importance of sharing one's power to reinvent and reinvigorate a true democracy.

A panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts selected the winners based on four criteria: creativity, form, function and overall experience, except for the People's Choice Award. SXSW Interactive attendees voted for the People's Choice Award at the second annual Innovation Award Finalist Showcase on Sunday, March 11, where the 65 finalists had the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work.

"The Interactive community would like to congratulate this year's winners for their exciting work and break-through innovations," said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer. "We look forward to many upcoming achievements from the 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards winners." 


AI & Machine LearningHonoring digital systems which have the ability to adapt to changing data, stimuli, and circumstances; replicating learning, problem solving, and cognition.

  • Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

Health, Med, & BioTechHonoring the new technology that best improves the quality, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and care in health and medicine.

  • MasSpec Pen by the Eberlin Lab at The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX

Innovation in Connecting PeopleHonoring the best new way to connect and communicate with others.

  • Read To Me by The Electric Factory, Montevideo, Uruguay

Music & Audio InnovationHonoring 2017's best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music.

  • Hands-Free Music Project by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA

New EconomyHonoring 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.

  • Autonomous Operations Platform for Selfdriving Fleets by Ridecell, San Francisco, CA

Privacy & SecurityHonoring 2017's most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy.

  • Ghostery Privacy Ad Blocker by Ghostery, New York, NY

Responsive DesignHonoring excellent digital design, creating the best-integrated interaction in terms of content, aesthetics, and functionality.

  • The Coca-Cola Times Square Billboard by space150, Atlanta, GA

Scifi No LongerHonoring the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2017 was only possible in science fiction.

  • The Dermal Abyss: When Tattoos meet Biotechnology by MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School and UC Davis, Davis, CA

Smart CitiesHonoring 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.

  • Jacques-Cartier Bridge Interactive Illumination Concept by Moment Factory, with: Réalisations Montréal Inc., Ambiances Design Productions, ATOMIC3, Éclairage Public / Ombrages, Lucion Média and UDO Design. Project directed by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., Montreal, QC

Student InnovationHonoring the student with an exceptional interactive technology project or startup; both of which are the future.

  • Facebook Messenger Blood Type Bots by Ryan Leckie and Jakub Straka, Miami Ad School Europe, Hamburg, Germany

Visual Media ExperienceHonoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience.

  • LEGO House Fish Designer by LEGO House / Trigger Global, Los Angeles, CA

VR & ARHonoring breakthroughs in augmented and virtual reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the virtual a reality.

  • Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, San Francisco, CA

Wearable TechHonoring the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally "on you."

  • Jacquard™ by Google, Mountain View, CA

Special HonorsDavid Carr Prize

  • Amanda Gail

Meme of the Year

  • Savage Prince George

Breakout Trend of the Event

  • Globally Connected: we're in this together

Speaker of the Event

  • Esther Perel

People's Choice Award

  • The World's First AI Financial Advisor by Pefin, New York, NY

Best of Show

  • Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

For a complete list of SXSW Interactive Innovation Award finalists and winners, visit the following:

About SXSW

SXSW dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. Founded in 1987 in Austin, Texas, SXSW is best known for its conference and festivals that celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. The event, an essential destination for global professionals, features sessions, showcases, screenings, exhibitions, and a variety of networking opportunities. SXSW proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together. SXSW 2018 will take place March 9-18, 2018.

SXSW 2018 is sponsored by Bud Light, smart, Capital One, The Austin Chronicle, and Mercedes-Benz.

Press ContactBrett CannonSenior Publicist512


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SOURCE South by Southwest (SXSW)

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