Undercurrent 360 named a finalist for 2017 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards

The UNC School of Media and Journalism’s Undercurrent 360 project has been selected as a finalist for the 20th annual SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards in the Student Innovation category. The category recognizes exceptional interactive technology projects or startups.

The awards ceremony will take place during the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals March 10-19, 2017.

Undercurrent 360 was produced in 2016 by a team of students and faculty documenting the health of coral reefs in Panama. The project featured bilingual storytelling using 360-degree video, short documentary video, long-form text, data journalism, design, information graphics and more.

Assistant Professor Steven King is proud of the work his students produced for the project.

"We are always pushing out students to be innovative and to push the medium forward, so it is great to be honored by such a well-known organization like SXSW," King said. 

In addition to the awards ceremony, this year’s finalists will have the opportunity to exhibit and demo their work at the Interactive Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Sunday, March 12, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. CDT at the Hilton Austin Downtown.

The Finalist Showcase offers SXSW Interactive, Music, Film and Platinum badge-holders a first look at the most exciting tech developments, including achievements in digital design, health technology, privacy and security, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, plus a chance to place their votes for the People’s Choice Award.

Of hundreds of applications submitted, Undercurrent 360 was one of 65 finalist spots across 13 categories chosen by a panel of judges comprised of industry peers and experts. Each entry was graded on four criteria: creativity, form, function and overall experience.

The Finalist Showcase provides an in-person experience for the judges to complete their second round of voting to determine the winner of all 13 categories. Categories include Health Med & Biotech, Innovation in Connecting People, Innovative 3DIY, Music & Audio Innovation, New Economy, Privacy & Security, Responsive Design, SciFi No Longer, Smart Cities, Student Innovation, Visual Media Experience, VR & AR and Wearable Tech.

“We are proud to not only honor the year’s best, most forward-thinking projects, but to bring that innovation to the fingertips of each and every SXSW conference attendee during the Finalist Showcase,” said Hugh Forrest, chief programming officer. “I'm particularly impressed at how many of these projects are implementing next generation AI technology. This AI theme is one that will be very strong throughout SXSW 2017.”