VR, Robots, and Pharma are Hot at SXSW

It’s hot in Austin – literally. But besides being 96 degrees in Austin, there is a “Lot of Hot” going on at SXSW. Even Obama can’t bring this event down (Note to self: don’t tell the tech community that their phones are just black boxes). Still in all a big surprise interview – see interview below. The normal things like VR, robots and the connected Internet of Things is draped across SXSW, but of interest is Pharma looking to connect the brain to treat chronic diseases,

electroceutical sxswElectroceuticals

One of the most interesting topics is electroceuticals and Big Pharma. A recently coined term that broadly encompasses all bioelectronic medicine that employs electrical stimulation to affect and modify functions of the body. GSK is now planning clinical trials for implanted devices that will provide bioelectric treatments for three chronic diseases. Currently, GSK is focused on devices that will be implanted on peripheral nerves in the body; controling signals in the brain is “orders of magnitude” harder, Slaoui said. But working with peripheral nerves that lead to major organs provides plenty of opportunities to treat chronic diseases. Slaoui rattled off a list of ailments that included obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, asthma, and arthritis.

These devices would be programmed to read and modify electrical signals that pass along nerves of the body, including irregular or altered impulses that can occur in association with a broad range of diseases. The hope is that through these devices, disorders as diverse as inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, asthma, hypertension and diabetes could be treated. We believe bioelectronic medicines could allow us to treat these with greater precision and fewer side effects than with conventional medicines.  

sxsw vrVirtual reality is everywhere

No surprise that virtual reality (VR) has been a key part of the SXSW experience for the past few years, with the Game of Thrones VR experience and Samsung’s Gear VR both standing out in past years. This year, virtual reality is at the forefront.

Panels are on tap to discuss everything from Cinematic VR, virtual football, and VR storytelling to city planning using social VR. And the event features various branded installations such as the Samsung Gear VR Lounge and the McDonald’s Loft.

Jibo sxswArtificial intelligence and emotive robotics

Meet your new companion. Jibo. Think of the qualities in a friend – empathy, playfulness and fun. In this talk, MIT social roboticist Cynthia Breazeal will share how Jibo, an attentive and expressive home helper, and social robots are creating space for humanized engagement with technology that makes consumers feel as if they’re interacting with someone, and not something.

Jibo is one of the most advanced robots on display at SXSW this year, offering a two-way interactive and expressive experience that is helpful and thought provoking to the user, making it feel like a human-to-human interaction.

mcdonalds-food-truck-hed-2015Connected everything – IoT meets Fast Food

In the IoT competition, McDonald’s says it wants to see how it can use the new technology in its 14,000 US stores and kitchens to help it “better know and understand consumer behavior.”

“IoT has the ability to upend almost every facet of our lives, and in this session, we will hear from startups making waves in this space,” the company said.

McDonald’s will also hear pitches from 0n-demand startups, presumably so the fast-food giant can glean insights into mobile food ordering. “Recent innovations have solved many of the logistical and economical challenges to make this world of mobility possible, and we’re just at the start of this massive shift allowing for greater levels of convenience,” McDonald’s said. “In this session, we will hear from startups further ushering us into the next wave of mobility and their applications to the everyday food space.”

The connected cheeseburger is very close.

Obama @ SXSW 


Watson @ SXSW

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