Five things from SXSW that got us excited
Anyone with an interest in the creative industry will have not been able to miss the fever surrounding South by Southwest (SXSW) over the past few days. There’s been the ultimate ‘Roseanne’ experience with free pie, a Google Fun House with a lowrider car, a leaked Ludacris rider, and an appearance from the elusive Elon Musk (more on that later). With over 2,100 sessions across nine days there’s a lot to cover, so we’ve made it easy for you to blag that you were there with a roundup of our favourite immersive experiences and PR stunts from the mega event:
- Westworld takes over Austin
HBO went all in for Westworld at SXSW with a 40-person crew taking five weeks to create the extraordinarily impressive replica Sweetwater town on the outskirts of Austin. Press were given first access at a special night-time viewing and it didn’t disappoint. The immersive experience had more than 60 performers and 444 pages of script to make sure it was as realistic as possible. There was a sinister Samurai lurking about, hinting at the next world to be explored in Season 2, as well an especially evil looking drone host hiding away for inquisitive visitors to discover.
- Bose AR Glasses
Bose introduced a very different AR concept at SXSW – Audible AR. Varying from the likes Google Glass and Microsoft’s Hololens, the trendy looking prototype glasses add an ‘audible layer of information and experiences’ to what you are looking at. The glasses can track your head movement for motion control and use GPS from a paired smartphone to track location. When wondering around looking for a bite to eat, you’ll be able to double tap the side of glasses when looking at a restaurant and it will bring up reviews, menu examples and other handy information. It’s very early days but we can’t wait to get our hands on a pair (which apparently won’t be until 2019 at the earliest…).
- Elon Musk Q&A
Attendees were only informed of the Elon Musk Q&A with Jonathon Nolan the night before the event, sending fans into fever pitch. As usual he was full of the kind of startling vision that confirmed for us that this is the guy we want leading us to safety from the next dark age, which he predicts is on the way. The focus was on the video of the Falcon Heavy launch, which Nolan made, but Musk also shared an insight into his world. A few of our favourite ‘Musk musings’ included –
- “Mark my words: AI is much more dangerous than nukes”
- “I think in the next year, self-driving will encompass essentially all modes of driving”
- “Mars will need everything from iron foundries to pizza joints to nightclubs”
- On who inspires him – “Well, Kanye West, obviously. And Fred Astaire. You should see my dance moves.”
Watch it in full here.
- Ready Player One Premiere
Even initial technical difficulties during the event couldn’t hold Ready Player One back, though Steven Spielberg did call it “probably the greatest anxiety attack I’ve ever had”. There couldn’t have been more of a perfect place to premiere the film with pop culture fans going mad for a glimpse of Spielberg, plus the chance to step into the Oasis yourself at the VR experience. Twitter has been abuzz with gushing reviews, while the Rotten Tomatoes score is currently at 77%. Bring on the general release on the 30th March!
- LEGO Digital Fish Designer Experience
Ever dreamed of creating your own adorable Sharky or George out of LEGO and then letting them swim free in a digital aquarium?! Of course you have, who hasn’t! This neat technology has been available at LEGO House in Denmark since last year but came to SXSW for the first time and visitors have fallen in love. The Fish Designer experience lets you build a fish out of LEGO, scan it into the machine, and digitally release it into the aquarium where it’ll swim around with other builders’ fish. It’ll be interesting to see how the toy giant incorporate this tech into consumer sets in the future, and if we ever needed an excuse to visit LEGO House in Billund, I think we have one…