SXSW: Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase, Unwrapped

Many projects and discussions have taken place at SXSW Festival 2023. Among them, ACCENT Reporter Marisela Perez Maita was able to cover the uprising innovation showcase that offered a glimpse into the transformative state of our future.

by Marisela Perez Maita

On March 11, 2023, 55 finalists across 14 categories presented their innovative projects at the JW Marriott Downtown conference rooms. These categories included health, design, tech, audio and AI. Here are five of the numerous stands that were present:


The Musichealth stand – Photos by Claudia Hinojos

Musichealth is an AI that uses music therapy to help patients with dementia and their caregivers. The software —called Vera— creates a playlist that brings nostalgia and reminiscence of the patient’s past to their present. Once the patient starts listening to a song they enjoy and remember, their mood and behaviors change, relaxing the patient’s body and mind and making it much easier for caregivers to carry them through different activities. Combining neuroscience, technology and music, Musichealth helps dementia patients reconnect with emotions and caring memories


The Edubank stand – Photos by Claudia Hinojos

Founded in Brazil, Edubank is a bank that provides credits to schools in Latin America. The founder, Daniel Costa, started this project after realizing how the lack of financial support retains Brazilian schools for improvement. Traditional banks don’t like to give credit nor provide access to capital for education because “It’s too complicated” according to Costa. For this reason, institutions have a hard time finding resources to improve their facilities and quality of education. Edubank has helped over 400 schools in Brazilian states. They hope to reach 1 million students by 2026. 


How a profile looks like in Chptr – Photos courtesy of Claudia Hinojos

Chptr is an app for those who want to remember relatives and friends who have passed away. The way it works is very simple. People join a “profile” which is the space created for that person, and anyone invited to that profile can add a memory or a moment. A memory is either a video or audio where the user expresses their emotions or thoughts. A moment are pictures, videos, conversations or any media that shows how that person was for those who loved them. Chptr embraces memory, grief and love through the timeless space of technology.

The app is completely free and can be downloaded from the App Store or Play Store. 


Reporter Marisela Perez Maita testing Neuralight technology; The Neuralight stand and demonstration data – Photos courtesy of Claudia Hinojo

Neuralight is an AI that, by capturing oculometric movements, diagnoses neuronal disorders, measures sickness progression, and allows doctors to find the best treatment for the patient. Neuralight presenters pointed out that neurological disorders are usually diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, nd many of them share similar symptoms, so the risk of being misdiagnosed is high. Some of the most common are Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease (HD), and Major Depressive Disorder (MD). Neuralight’s technology uses oculometric data to diagnose and predict these disorders accurately. Following a dot on a screen, gives information such as reaction time and many other complex neurological data that are useful for medical diagnosis. 


The Shrimpbox stand – Photos courtesy of Claudia Hinojos

The company Atarraya presented Shrimpbox the first AI-powered aquaculture farm designed to allow the production of shrimp sustainably. Traditional shrimp production pollutes oceans, destroys habitats, and contributes to overfishing. For this reason, Atarraya built the technology to cultivate shrimps in a “box” that replicates the breeding environment of the shrimps, be it in urban, hot or cold areas. The box can be built anywhere in the world, making it a sustainable farm that significantly decreases the environmental impact. 

From the presented stands, Neuralight won in the category of Health and MedTech. The Finalists Showcase emboldens the importance of festivals like South by South West, where people with brilliant ideas get the opportunity to showcase their passions and innovations to others and inspire more ideas to come.

Culinary Cut: Smoothies

Written by Alexa Smith
Video by Marissa Greene

With summer coming up, it’s a great time to try out some delicious new smoothie recipes. Give greens a chance with our greens smoothie or take a break from the usual strawberry banana with our mixed berry smoothie. If you’re looking for something with protein try out the super easy PB smoothie. With ingredients you probably already have in your freezer, these smoothies are easy to throw together and make a yummy breakfast, snack, or dessert.


Sexual Safety at ACC

Written by: Regina Seanez

*ACCENT is not reliable for providing any medical advice to students and if they are unsure about their health they should seek a medical professional.*

Even though we’ve seen our society grow into more of a welcoming environment for tough conversations, there are still some topics that are still left in the dark.  Most college students can recall the moment their parents sat them down to have “the talk.” For a young teen going through puberty, that discussion was pretty uncomfortable and especially confusing. And for many college students today, those feelings still linger around the topic of safe sex. In addition to the impact of peers and social media influencers, many students may be left unsure of who to trust and what the real facts are about STI’s, HIV, and types of measures one can take to protect their health.  

According to, in 2017 1.1 million Americans were living with HIV. One in every seven of those who have been affected were unaware that they had even been infected. As this epidemic continues spreading and more and more every year the conversation about sexual safety has come to the table. Based on a press release made earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cases found for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis reached a new record of 2,457,118 combined cases in 2018. 

Not all HIV diseases are spread through intercourse; it could also be through unsterile injections, the reuse of needles, blood spread, etc. With the many ways for someone to be infected with this irreversible virus, there are some serious precautions in order to prevent contact with someone who may be a carrier. 

On, they give four steps individuals can take in order to help prevent the spreading of STIs. First, start by getting tested. Make sure that before you partake in any sexual activity, you get yourself checked by a doctor. If you have a partner, talk to them about getting tested, or if they have gotten tested. It is important to know in order to ensure you and your partner’s safety and health.

The number of people who have been affected by HIV/STI and weren’t aware of it raised concerns of many. In turn, started the conversation between the students at Austin Community College about how can students become more aware of sexual safety? 

At the beginning of each semester at ACC, students and staff are offered free HIV/STI examinations. The Student Life teamed up with local non-profit, AIDS Services of Austin and held the fall 2019 drive during the month of October. Joshua Garcia, the student life coordinator for this event, ensured that the testing process is kept confidential by testing individuals inside the testing vans. 

“The tests are not only free, but are also conducted in a way that is culturally positive, inclusive, and educational,” Garcia said. 

Though most people would be uncomfortable talking about it, Garcia assures that they try to provide a friendly, safe open space for students who have any questions regarding HIV/STIs. 

“For many people I encountered, it was their first time being tested or having the opportunity to openly ask questions about sexual health,” Garcia mentions. 

ACC will plan to hold another event in the Spring semester, around the month of February 2020.

“Events like these promote the overall health and well-being of students,” says Garcia. “Students do not always find free access to resources on their own, so it is important for colleges to step forward.”

For more information, or you have any questions about these events, please contact Joshua Garcia at [email protected] or Student Life. 

The Tricky Balance Between Study and Sleep

A “Chicken or Egg” Dilemma, and How Students Can Fix It

Story by: Jace Puckett

College is a precarious balance between students’ social lives and classes; careers and exams; and, perhaps most importantly, sleeping and studying. Putting off study time can lead to long nights of cramming; conversely, losing sleep can cause students to crash instead of studying. It easily becomes a matter of “chicken or egg”—which came first, and which causes which?

It isn’t uncommon for students to seek help with their study and/or sleep habits: Jordan Easley, an academic coach at Austin Community College’s San Gabriel campus, estimated that around 80 to 90 percent of the students he sees report poor sleeping habits in addition to poor study habits.

“I definitely make it a priority to make sure everyone is healthy, treating themselves right, and not burning out, because all of it is very interconnected,” Easley said. 

“Having a job, being a parent—which is also a job—or being in school—which is also a job—they’re all a form of obligation. I think that people give themselves the most leniency when it comes to schoolwork because they see it as something that is more flexible. … They tend to underestimate the amount of time and effort that it will take to complete an assignment, so I think that’s the one [obligation] that gets dropped the most often.”

On the other hand, it’s easy to justify losing sleep to study, according to an article on Study International News.

 “Most students probably know that depriving themselves from sleep is bad,” author Sharuna Segaren, a senior education journalist at Study International, reports. 

“But nonetheless they’re willing to sacrifice sleep and as a consequence, health, telling themselves it’s just for a short time and they can soon start sleeping 12-hours a day once the semester draws to a close.”

To find a better balance between time spent studying and time spent sleeping, Danny Ugarte, an exercise fitness major at ACC, suggested separating classwork into daily tasks depending on when each assignment was due. He lamented about his misunderstanding of assignment deadlines: 

“I’ve had plenty of times when I thought that something was due on one day and it wasn’t, so I ended up not sleeping that night and doing the assignment.”

Easley stressed the importance of time management and prioritizing. Students can determine what is the most pressing task at hand and complete it first so that they have more time for what matters most to them.

“You have to know what’s important to you. If your classwork is important to you, you have to make the time for it. If your work is important to you, you have to make the time for it. If your family is important to you, you make the time for it. Make your sleep and your health important to you, and make the time for it.”