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 courtesy of 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 they start listening to the song they love, their mood and behaviors change, so it is much easier for caregivers to carry them through different activities. Getting out of bed, showering, eating, and many other tasks are associated with the song, relaxing the patient, and facilitating work for the caregivers. 


The Edubank stand – Photos courtesy of 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 can be a video or audio where the user can express their emotions or thoughts. A “moment” are pictures, videos, screenshots of conversations, or media that shows how that person was through moments in their life. 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 Hinojos

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. Neurological disorders are difficult to diagnose until it is already too late. These can be Parkinson’s Disease (PD), Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s Disease (HD), and Major Depressive Disorder (MD), among others. Many of them share similar symptoms, so the risk of being misdiagnosed is high. Neuralight’s technology uses oculometric data to diagnose and predict these disorders accurately. By following a dot in a screen, it 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 anywhere in the world, be it in urban or cold areas, in a “box” that replicates the breeding environment of the shrimps. It is a sustainable farm that significantly decreases the environmental impact. 

One thing that characterizes SXSW is the diverse topics and the importance of the discussions. The presented innovations, ideas, and initiatives are pillars in what the future of our city and world will look like.