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SXSW Highlights: Wow Factory, Zero Gravity and Doing What You Can’t

WOW is the perfect word to to describe this year’s South by Southwest (SXSW), an annual conference and festival held in Austin, Texas that celebrates the convergence of the interactive, film, and music industries. With this year’s diverse offering of events, talks and experiential spaces, SXSW did not disappoint. Blind Society’s Design Director, Shannon Ecke is an avid conference-goer and has compiled a few highlights of her experience.

The Sony WOW Factory

Technology is a big part of SXSW and Sony created an incredible playground of their emerging technology at the WOW Factory which featured virtual and mixed reality demonstrations, interactive rooms, and new products that are set to change our lives in the near future. Highlights include the Gold Rush VR experience where you explore immersive environments searching for gold, and another project called “T,” which uses Sony’s Xperia Projector to create an interactive space on a blank table where storybooks, architectural renderings, and pianos come to life by using hand gestures and basic items.


The MUMMY Zero Gravity VR

Experiential marketing at its finest. The Mummy (out this summer) features a plane crash (falling, not actually crashing) scene which was shot in zero gravity, and this VR experience allowed conference goers to walk onto a replica plane, take a seat in one of the red eggshell shaped Positron Voyager chairs, put on the Oculus Rift headset and headphones and be transported into the scene with all senses. Hosted by Tom Cruise, it’s part behind-the-scenes and part in-the-scenes, the experience gives you not only a 360˚ view of the inside the plane and the stunt but it gives you the closest experience of actually being there and experiencing the g-forces with the crew as the plane climbs and decends. Here is a preview:


Casey Neistat

Personality and filmmaker, Casey Neistat shared his path to YouTube stardom and a behind-the-scenes look at his viral videos. Casey stands out as a dynamic personality and conceptual thinker who is not afraid to take the bull by the horns, something we can all get inspiration from. For example check out the “Do What You Can’t” video below that summarizes the spirit of what he does. Casey is now part of CNN Worldwide, where he is currently building an entirely new stand-alone media and technology company that you’re sure to hear about this summer. It’s amazing to think it all started with this video about bike lanes. Here are a few of Casey’s most viewed videos:



Everything else!

In between techs and talks, Shannon explored Austin, met some friendly locals, discovered the best BBQ out of a trailer, listened to live music (that’s a given), and had a great overall experience. We’ll see you next year at the 2018 event!