SXSW Interactive

What Austin's Chaotic Moon was up to during SXSW 2016

Nine demos making technology a little more personal

Posted March 18th, 2016

Chaotic Moon Studios, the company that has in the past shown off large-scale outdoor installations and fire-breathing drones at past South by Southwest Interactive events quieted down a little from those attention-grabbing stunts for 2016. The technology it showed off in nine separate demos were a little more personal and practical, perhaps in keeping with the company's acquisition last year by the consulting firm Accenture.

The nine demos ranged from a body-scanning dance party avatar creator to an artificial intelligence agent that can scoop up info about a notable person in history and speak to you as they would  to pants that send an SMS when the fly is down. VR was represented in an HTC Vive minigame called "Slaytime" and an interesting headband for the visually impaired, "Sentiri" (pictured above), for instance,  showed how haptics could aid in sensing the world around you and was demonstrated with a blindfold and obstacle course.

Here's some details on the other eight demos, each of which have their own website you can check out for more info and videos:

Doppeldancer uses full-body 3D scanning to create a wireframe image of a person, which can then be turned into a super-dance avatar. Chaotic Moon used the tech to create avatars at its SXSW party, then put all of those avatars on a dance floor together. Could this be the photo booth of future parties?

Notifly is simple: it uses a sensor to tell when someone's zipper is down but button is clasped and sends a text message letting the person know about the potential social faux pas. Dumb? Maybe, but super useful if you've ever been in that situation.

Contributed by Chaotic Moon StudiosNotifly uses a sensor and text messaging to alert someone when their zipper is unzipped.

Invoc adds gesture controls to a Samsung Gear smartwatch.

Undercurrents can nudge employees with alerts using haptic feedback pads sewn into the clothing. 

Contributed by Chaotic Moon StudiosChaotic Moon describes Undercurrents as "BioWearables / smart clothing for the workplace."

Slaytime is a fun VR minigame in which players try to defeat a dragon by putting together a large crossbow contraption using the controllers of an HTC Vive device.

Lari is an intriguing idea: capturing hundreds or thousands of brainwaves related to specific words from different people then using that technology to predict people's words as they're thinking them. 

CM Tour de Jour employs modified Cardboards VR goggles to make virtual objects. In its demos, Chaotic Moon used posters for its nine tech demos to make Tour de Jour come to live with animations, stickers and other objects that would appear when viewing the posters with the goggles.

Omar L. Gallaga / AMERICAN-STATESMANPosters for each of Chaotic Moon's nine tech demos were used to activate virtual objects in the CM Tour de Jour demo.

And lastly, perhaps the tech that most intrigued me was Mockzy AI, an artificial intelligence demo that takes all of the writing of a famous person (say Shakespeare), then makes conversations with users in the voice of that person. It's an idea right out of "Black Mirror," and a little creepy, but you can imagine the fun possibilities of being able to talk with authors and philosophers of the past, or, say even current political candidates based on their autobiographies and Tweets.