SXSW is a more integrated festival than ever. There’s still music, film, and interactive mediums present, but technology really is the thread that connects them all. Present at the week of events are all sorts of different startup tech companies, each attempting to get their new gadgets, apps, and experimental technology in front of people.
We made our way through the festival to see the most interesting, provocative, and downright strange technology—and took some photos along the way.
1 of 25
The Austin Convention Center
The Austin Convention Center is the main hub of the South by Southwest conference.
It is located in the heart of downtown Austin and is the location of the main registration area and many of the keynote sessions.
2 of 25
The Trade Show
The trade show is a multi-day exhibition in the Austin Convention Center that highlights technological innovations from around the world.
It is also SXSW's #1 source of free writing utensils.
3 of 25
This device applies stimulus to the throat in order to simulate the experience of stuttering.
It allows the wearer to experience a new level of empathy for people who experience stuttering in their daily life.
4 of 25
Sensiks introduces a sensory reality pod that provides an immersive VR experience. According to the founder, Fred Galstaun, it was inspired in part by the concept of simulating a dreamlike state.
The immersive Sensiks experience includes visuals from an Oculus, heat, smell, and sound. It is being tested for use in therapy for dementia and PTSD with more possibilities in the future.
5 of 25
You can use an app to send a "hug" to someone with a Parihug huggable plushie. The hug feels like a soothing vibration and is sent in real time.
The Parihug is machine washable if you remove the electronics. If you don't remove the electronics then you might have an issue.
6 of 25
This device is wearable technology for personal safety. It's a small, discreet, button that can be tapped to create an alarm or to send automated "distress" texts.
There are many possible applications from subtly calling for help, to subtly requesting an "escape this date" call.
7 of 25
Flash Drives for Freedom
This organization uses donated flash drives to share TV shows and other media with people in North Korea. They are smuggled in to spread information from the outside world and to subvert the restrictive regime.
Apparently it's mostly culture from South Korea, but the Hunger Games were also very popular.
8 of 25
Paper-thin biometric sensors that collect data and are worn like a stick-on tattoo.
They can be used for biometric monitoring, human-computer interfacing, or as an edgy fashion statement.
9 of 25
Swimlap is a wearable device that attached to swim goggles.
It pairs with an app and allows users to track how many laps they swam.
10 of 25
This booth at the trade show used HTC Vive technology to give users the experience of virtually shopping at a store in a virtual reality experience.