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SXSW Announces Innovative Awards: Full List

Thursday 16th March 2017 by AllieHanley

The South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals announced the digital industry’s most transformative advancements of 2017 on March 15, in Austin, Texas.

The SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards ceremony was held Tuesday evening and was hosted by “Sleepy Hollow” actresses Lyndie Greenwood and Janina Gavankar. This was the 20th year of the award show that showcases the evolving and broadening trends in the digital industry including software, apps, and devices.

The awards include 13 awards and 6 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, which were presented to innovators spanning categories from healthcare to sustainability, privacy & security, music, finance, communication integration and beyond.

New to the Awards ceremony this year was the second annual David Carr Prize, awarded for the best essay submitted from writers, bloggers and journalists. Created last year to honor the late David Carr, a friend and great contributor to SXSW and the journalistic community, the essay topic follows Carr’s interest in the convergence of new media, technology, and culture. Mike Armstrong took home this year’s David Carr Prize for his essay “The Heart of Something Heartless,” about morality and emotions in Artificial Intelligence.

How the awards were selected from the press release:

“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 12, where the 65 finalists had the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work.”


Health, Med and 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

Follow the link above to see a video on how it works. It’s a device the delivers injectable medicine WITHOUT a needle.

Innovation in Connecting People – Awarded for the best new way to connect and communicate with others.

Blendoor by Stephanie Lampkin, San Francisco, CA

Follow the link above to see a video about the app. It facilitates diversity in human resources by focusing on merit and not molds.

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

This device is a handheld printer that lets you make 3d constructs.

Music and 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

The website shows applications for the tech. It’s a device that allows you to send audio/ control audio via sound beams. You could have an event and with this tech have a designated section with one audio stream (or multiple) and another section with a different audio stream with precise control.

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

It’s an app that helps you sell you car with ease.

Privacy and Security – Awarded for 2016’s most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy. <from press release – “2016”>


A system designed to keep your information safe, encrypted, and ways to access it as well as monitor.

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

Online tutorial for teaching a language.

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

DuoSkin is a fabrication process that enables anyone to create customized functional devices that can be attached directly on their skin. Using gold metal leaf, a material that is cheap, skin-friendly, and robust for everyday wear, we demonstrate three types of on-skin interfaces: sensing touch input, displaying output, and wireless communication. 

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

This is flooring that captures information about the traffic coming in to your event/store.

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

Robotic devices to be utilized by amputees.

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

It’s a personal map to a museum based on some whimsical choices.

VR and 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

It’s a program that lets you 3d paint in virtual reality.

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

Hearing aid that is controlled with your phone.


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

It’s a device that replaces your touch pad on your computer, plus some much more.

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

Crowd funding that is dedicated to improving global public health.

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

 Formal Announcement from SXSW to the winners:

 “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.”

For a complete list of SXSW Interactive Innovation Award finalists and winners, visit the following: https://www.sxsw.com/awards/interactive-innovation-awards/.


Allie Hanley waves her Geek Flag proudly as she writes Film, TV, and Pop Cuture articles for several websites and a magazine. She occasionaly lands cool intervews with some of the Hollywood's most influential movers and shakers. Her favorite TV show is "Game Of Thrones" followed closely by "The Walking Dead." She has high hopes for HBO's "Westworld" and loves all things pop culture. Her favorite interview in recent times was with Gary Oldman. She attends Comic Con International every year and sometimes guest panels on smaller cons talking from topics like Women of Sci/fi, film, etc. Follow on Twitter @HallHHooker