2018 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards Finalists Announced and Hall of Fame Inductee Eli Pariser

We're thrilled to announce the 2018 Interactive Innovation Awards Finalists and the Hall of Fame Inductee, Eli Pariser.

The 21st annual Interactive Innovation Awards presented by KPMG recognize the most exciting tech developments in the connected world. Discover 2017’s best new work at the Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on March 11, then toast the winners on March 13 at the Innovation Awards Ceremony as we celebrate all the incredible speakers, trends, innovations, and ideas at SXSW each year.

The 3rd annual Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase offers SXSW Interactive, Film, Music, and Platinum badgeholders a first look at 2017’s best, most forward-thinking projects in the fields of health and bio-tech, VR and AR, AI and machine learning, privacy and security, smart cities and responsive design, and more. The 65 finalists across 13 categories exhibit their work for SXSW registrants, who vote to determine the winner of the People’s Choice Award. The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards will reveal winners in each of the 13 categories plus six additional honors, including Best of Show, People’s Choice, Breakout Trend of the Event, Speaker of the Event and Meme of the Year. Congratulations to all the finalists!

2018 Interactive Innovation Awards Finalists

AI & Machine Learning

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

eBALLution by Akatsuki Inc., Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo
Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA
The Cognitive Story by Darwin Ecosystem, Dallas, TX
Toyota Mirai - AI by Tool, Santa Monica, CA & Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles, CA
Woebot by Woebot Labs, Inc., San Francisco, CA

Health, Med, & BioTech

Honoring 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
EksoVest by Ekso Bionics, Richmond, CA
Spark: An Autonomous Fitness & Rehabilitation Platform by James Simmons, Dipali Bajaj, Zhaolin Cai, Gonzalo Gelso, Hwanghah Jeong, Claire Puginier, and Andrew Sibert, Savannah, GA
Movement Tracks Project by Center for Music Therapy, Inc., Austin, TX
Turning Machine Intelligence Against Lung Cancer by Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, VA

Innovation in Connecting People

Honoring the best new way to connect and communicate with others.

Airbnb x VICE Experiences by Airbnb, San Francisco, CA
ElliQ by Intuition Robotics, Ramat Gan, Israel and San Francisco, CA
Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, San Francisco, CA
Hands-Free Music Project by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
Read To Me by The Electric Factory, Montevideo, Uruguay

Music & Audio Innovation

Honoring 2017’s best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music.

Bacardi - Music Liberates Music by BBDO New York, New York, NY
Downtown Records - Live Looper by BBDO New York, New York, NY
Harman Connected PA by Harman, a Samsung Entity, Plano, TX
Hands-Free Music Project by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA
Dolby Atmos for Music by Dolby Laboratories, San Francisco, CA

New Economy

Honoring 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.

Interactive Fitting Room by Stefanka, Montréal, QC
MRI AutoDetect: The ProMRI Advantage by BIOTRONIK INC, Portland, OR
The World’s First AI Financial Advisor by Pefin, New York, NY
Autonomous Operations Platform for Selfdriving Fleets by Ridecell, San Francisco, CA
Setapp, the first Mac app subscription service by MacPaw, Kyiv, Ukraine

Privacy & Security

Honoring 2017’s most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy.

bot detection by botswatch GmbH, Berlin, Germany
BullGuard for Dojo by BullGuard, Redwood City, CA and Herzliya, Israel
Ghostery Privacy Ad Blocker by Ghostery, New York, NY
Data Subject Access Rights Portal by OneTrust, Atlanta, GA
YubiKey 4C Nano by Yubico, Palo Alto, CA

Responsive Design

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

K’gari: The Real Story of a True Fake by SBS, Sydney, New South Wales
KONTINUUM, an underground journey through time by Moment Factory and Ottawa 2017 Bureau, Montréal, QC
Quest to LEGOLAND by VML, New York, NY
The Coca-Cola Times Square Billboard by space150, Atlanta, GA
TinyMOS: Astrophotography made small, smart and social by Y&R Singapore, Singapore

Scifi No Longer

Honoring the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2017 was only possible in science fiction.

Google Earth VR by Google, Mountain View, CA
HoloPlayer One by Looking Glass, Brooklyn, NY
Jacquard™ by Google, Mountain View, CA
Simulate the invisible: a real-time muography simulator developed for ScanPyramids mission by Benoit Marini, Paris/Bordeaux, France
The Dermal Abyss: When Tattoos meet Biotechnology by MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School and UC Davis, Davis, CA

Smart Cities

Honoring 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.

Floating an Idea: The + POOL Story by m ss ng p eces, Tribeca Studios, Heineken Cities Project, Brooklyn, NY
The Future of Fast: Alta’s Lithium-Ion Battery Pack by Alta Motors, Brisbane, CA
Gita by Piaggio Fast Forward, Boston, MA
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., Montréal, QC
LimeBike by LimeBike, San Mateo, CA

Student Innovation

Honoring 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
Philips HaptoCube by Aleksandr Bobrov, Gabriela Marijke van der Linden and Carrie Tang, Miami Ad School Europe, Hamburg, Germany
Samsung Magic Bed by Alex Lungu, Belén Aragon, Hannes Rath and Philip Ziegler, Miami Ad School Europe, Hamburg, Germany
Seeing Theory: A Visual Introduction to Probability and Statistics by Daniel Kunin, Jingru Guo, Tyler Dae Devlin, and Daniel Xiang, Providence, RI
TinyMOS: Astrophotography made small, smart and social - World's smallest, smartest, and most social astronomy camera by Y&R Singapore, Singapore

Visual Media Experience

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

Deep City by HUSH, Brooklyn, NY
GE - Unseen Stars by BBDO New York, New York, NY
LEGO House Fish Designer by LEGO House / Trigger Global, Los Angeles, CA
NASA: Data Lens by Bluecadet, Philadelphia, PA
Player.me by SplitmediaLabs Limited, Manila Philippines


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

Directional AR and more. A minimalist way by Wagoo LLC, Irving, TX, & Wagoo, Italia, Srls
Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, San Francisco, CA
Quest to LEGOLAND by VML, New York, NY
RadHA (Radiology with Holographic Augmentation) by Bencin Studios, Smyrna, TN | UCSF & HoloSurg3D Lab, San Francisco, CA
Zero Days VR by Scatter, Brooklyn, NY

Wearable Tech

Honoring the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally “on you.”

CardioLens by Microsoft Research, Seattle, WA & ENAC, University of Toulouse
DAQRI Smart Glasses by DAQRI, Los Angeles, CA
Jacquard™ by Google, Mountain View, CA
Motiv Ring by Motiv Inc, San Francisco, CA
NIGHTWATCH® by Protequus LLC, Austin, TX

2018 Finalists

Hall of Fame Inductee

Eli Pariser is the President of Upworthy and GOOD Worldwide. He has dedicated his career to figuring out how technology can elevate important topics in the world — as an author, an online organizer, and most recently, as a co-founder of Upworthy. Pariser served as the executive director of MoveOn.org from 2004-2009, growing membership to more than 5 million members and raising over $120 million. He also co-founded Avaaz.org, which is now the largest online advocacy organization in the world. In 2011, Pariser published the bestselling book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. Pariser founded Upworthy with longtime collaborator Peter Koechley in March 2012. The pair set out to prove once and for all that what’s important can be incredibly popular, even if what’s popular isn’t usually important.

Hall of Fame

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SXSW 2017 Interactive Innovation Awards - Photo by Christina Pradhan

By Ari Roth