Innovative Spirit

Seven Innovations That Made a Splash at This Year’s SXSW

The massive Austin event has become the place for unveiling cutting-edge tech, from educational apps to virtual reality art

Festivalgoers attend the Trade Show during the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals this week in Austin, Texas. (Amy E. Price/Getty)
smithsonian.com

When it got started more than 30 years ago, South by Southwest (SXSW) was a mere music festival. Today the Austin, Texas festival and conference is about music, film, art, technology, education, design, sustainability and pretty much anything else, drawing tens or even hundreds of thousands during its 10-day run. SXSW has become a leading venue for showcasing new technologies and innovations—here are some of our favorites so far.

Bedtime Stories When You're Far Away

A finalist for an educational innovation prize, Caribu is a digital platform that lets you read with your kids, even when you're far away. The app combines face-to-face video calling with digital picture books, so you and your kid can both see each other and the book. Interactive workbooks even let you draw together. Military families get access for free. 

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