AUSTIN — frog’s future-forward personal audio concept, UNUM, has been selected as a finalist for the 23rd annual SXSW Innovation Awards, taking place Monday, March 16 at 6 pm CT at the Austin Convention Center (Ballroom D) during the South by Southwest® (SXSW®) Conference and Festivals (March 13-22, 2020).
frog, one of the world’s leading design firms, is a finalist under the Speculative Design category for UNUM, a concept design that reimagines the personal audio experience. The SXSW Innovation Awards recognize and celebrate the most exciting tech developments in the connected world.
In advance of the Awards Ceremony, finalists will have the opportunity to exhibit their work at the Innovation Awards Finalist Showcase on Saturday, March 14, 12 pm-6 pm CT, at the Austin Convention Center (Exhibit Hall 1). The Finalist Showcase offers SXSW Interactive, Music, Film, and Platinum badge holders a first look at the most exciting tech developments, plus a chance to place their votes for the People’s Choice Award. Registered media and official Finalist Judges will have exclusive access to the Showcase and finalist demos that morning, 11 am-12 pm CT.
Of the hundreds of applications submitted, UNUM was one of 65 finalists selected across 13 categories 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: AI & Machine Learning, Climate, Culture & Social Impact, Health, Med & BioTech, Innovation in Connecting People, Music & Audio Innovation, New Economy, Robotics & Hardware, Smart Cities, Transportation & Logistics, Speculative Design, Student Innovation, Visual Media Experience, Wearable Tech and XR
The winners in each of the 13 categories, plus additional honors (Best of Show, People’s Choice, the David Carr Prize and the SXSW Hall of Fame) will be awarded at the 23rd annual SXSW Innovation Awards presented by Sprinklr on Monday, March 16.
“We’re thrilled to be a finalist in the Speculative Design category at South by Southwest,” said Adam Wrigley, Principal Mechanical Engineer at frog. “We spend a lot of time concepting and interpreting current-day technology for the future user. It’s an honor to have our idea recognized by our peers in the innovation space.”
UNUM is a concept that questions current social norms by looking at the future through the eyes of today’s technology. Wearing headphones today is an isolating experience. Headphones create a new audio soundscape and close off a user’s ears, both audibly and visually. This can be perceived as rude if worn during a conversation, or unsafe if worn as a pedestrian or cyclist. UNUM is an “open ear” device, allowing the soundscape of the world to be augmented instead of covered. It creates “one” audio soundscape instead of separating the user into a second, and shows the world that the wearer is still able to hear by leaving the ears uncovered. With these types of devices, headphones can become wearable all day and do not need to be constantly removed.
“SXSW is thrilled to honor this year’s most innovative projects and give each finalist the opportunity to showcase their inventions to all SXSW attendees through interactive demos at the Finalist Showcase,” said Hugh Forrest, Chief Programming Officer.
For more information about the SXSW Innovation Awards and to view the complete list of 2020 finalists, visit www.sxsw.com/awards/innovation-awards.