Meet The Finalists of SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards

Entrepreneurs, techies, and anyone with an appetite for innovation began to crowd the halls as the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards announced the winners of its competition.

Thirteen awards and six special honors were given to exceptional innovators of all fields, including sustainability, music, healthcare, communication, and security. The competition also brought with it for the first time the second annual David Carr Prize, given to a writer, journalist, or even blogger that submits the most innovative essay blending culture, technology, and new media.

The final ceremony also inducted Kara Swisher, cofounder of Recode, into the SXSW Interactive Hall of Fame, making her the sixth person to be given the honor.

The awards were given to innovators that offered something that excelled in creativity, form, function, and overall experience, except for the People’s Choice Award. Those who attended the Innovation Award Finalist Showcase on March 12 voted for the innovator they saw as deserving the award. A panel of judges that comprised of experts in the industry deliberated over the rest of the awards.

The Winners

If you’re interested in learning about the companies that took home these awards, check them out below and make sure to visit their websites:

Health, Med & Biotech – PRIME Needle Free Injector by Portal Instruments, Cambridge, MA

This innovative needle-free jet injection platform is licensed from MIT and transforms the drug delivery experience for patients suffering from chronic disease.

Innovation in Connecting People – Blendoor by Stephanie Lampkin, San Francisco, CA

This mobile job matching app uses a ‘blind recruiting’ strategy to circumvent unconscious bias and facilitate diversity recruiting.

Fun fact: Blendoor was the winner of 2015 Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year Competition. Apply for our 2017 competition here.

Streaming Map Reveals What Your State Cares About in 2016

Blendoor wins 2015 Tech.Co Startup of the Year

Innovative 3-DIY – 3Doodler PRO by 3Doodler, New York, NY

3Doodler Pro is the world’s first professional 3D printing pen designed to meet the demands and ambitions of creative professionals – architects, engineers, designers, artists, and more.

Music & Audio Innovation – HOLOPLOT Wave Field Generator by Holoplot GmbH, Berlin, DEU

This company produces 3D audio and modular technology for audio professionals and high end consumers. HOLOPLOT Wavefield Generator can be used to “illuminate” complex venue geometries to reach only the audience, avoiding critical reflecting sections.

New Economy – Blinker App by Blinker Inc., Denver, CO

Blinker is a mobile app that changes the way you discover, sell and purchase cars.

Privacy & Security – D3CRYPT3D by PADECA LLC, Chamblee, GA

This company creates revolutionary software centered around encryption that safeguards 3D assets and intellectual property for artists.

Responsive Design – My Grandmother’s Lingo by SBS Online Australia, Sydney, AUS

This interactive online documentary tells the personal story of a young Aboriginal woman dedicated to preserving her endangered Indigenous culture through language.

SciFi No Longer – DuoSkin by MIT Media Lab, Cambridge, MA | Microsoft Research, Redmond, WA

These on-skin devices resemble jewelry and allows users to control their mobile devices, display information, and store information directly on their skin.

Smart Cities – V3 by Pavegen, London, UK

These Multifunctional custom flooring technology use footsteps to generate off-grid electricity.

Student Innovation – BionicM – Powering Mobility for All by Xiaojun Sun | JSK robotics lab at The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, JPN

BionicM has created the new robotic prosthesis, enabling amputees to walk easily, naturally and safely.

Visual Media Experience – JourneyMaker by The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Start your museum adventure at home with JourneyMaker, an innovative new digital interactive that empowers you to create your own one-of-a-kind adventure with works of art.

VR & AR – Tilt Brush by Google, San Francisco, CA

This VR painting app enables users to sketch and create in an immersive 3D studio space, selecting from a palette of colors, brush-types, and impossible materials such as stars, ice and fire.

Wearable Tech – Halo 2 Made for iPhone Hearing Aids by Starkey Hearing Technologies | Karten Design, Eden Prairie,   MN

Halo 2 hearing aids (compatible with iPhone, iPad®, iPod touch® and Apple Watch®) allow users to experience music in a whole new way with pure, refined sound quality.

Special Honors

Not every company had a category to call it’s own. These two startups were privileged to special honors because of their uniquely innovative ideas:

Best of Show – The Sensel Morph by Sensel, Mountain View, CA

The Sensel Morph offers a new generation of multi-touch interaction in the form of an input device that allows people to interact with computers and programs (such as: Art Tablet, Midi Controller, Media Editor, Game Controller, Keyboard).

People’s Choice – Johnson & Johnson CaringCrowd by CI&T and R/GA, New York, NY

This crowdfunding platform is dedicated to improving global public health, topics include: Basic Support, Infectious Diseases, Accidents & Injury, Women & Children, Healthcare Systems & Access, Chronic Diseases and Humanitarian Emergencies.

For a complete list of SXSW Interactive Innovation Award finalists and winners, click here.


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Written by:
Jacob is a journalism and political science student at Arizona State University. He likes to learn and write about anything that isn’t cliché. His primary interests are foreign policy, solutions to global poverty, and tech innovation. He has helped lead multiple student groups on campus that have hosted a range of speakers on international issues and has acted as moderator for a couple himself. In his free time, he likes to watch movies, read weird books, and drink offensive amounts of coffee.
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