Top Seven Things from the SXSW 2018 Trade Show Floor (work type)

If you follow me, you know I recently worked SXSW for the first time. It was epic, it was strenuous, it was draining, it was amazing, and OMG is was tiring. Since then I have been in a whirlwind at work, following up on connections, working with our videographer to get reach a final cut for our promo video, documenting best practices for future shows, creating slide decks of statistics for our investors, and helping prep for Investment Committee meetings (#StartupLife).

So, I haven’t made much time for blogging and content creation at work (#FAIL). Thankfully, I finally finished rounding up some cool things from the SXSW trade show floor- and I’m so excited to share that with you! The things on the trade show floor were insane. There were more robots than people (that’s a totally accurate statement, sponsored by me!), and there were far too many fun activities to partake in….but I managed to sneak in a few! So, feel free to see some dope tech below, and revel in the our progression towards the world of tomorrow.


Morgan Messick


We are (almost) fully decompressed from the whirlwind of our SXSW 2018 activities. So, now that we’ve had some perspective, we’re looking back fondly on all our favorite things! The Trade Show definitely lives at the top of our list as best of SXSW.

With over 300 booths at the SXSW Trade Show floor, there was a lot to see and take in. You could take a mini-trip across the world by hitting the New Dutch Wave, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, Canada, France, Japan, Ireland, UK or Poland areas of the show floor. You could sample delicacies (like fresh Stroopwafels that are to die for), partake in adventures, sign up to donate bone marrow, or just meet some great new contacts. Either way, you were given the opportunity to pack it all in over four days, and 28 hours of show floor time. Needless to say, we picked out some favorites along the way.

Here are our “Top Seven” Coolest Things on the SXSW 2018 Trade Show Floor:

1. Universal robots (with light sabers!)

Jedi’s can do it, so why not robots? We’re talking light saber battles. We’d be lying if we said we weren’t scared of robots gaining Jedi mind powers and taking over the world (looking at you The Matrix), but we’re certainly not opposed to a friendly round of Jedi duels! Universal Robots gave us just that: robotic arms that battle each other with light sabers. This show floor gimmick was deliberately set up to draw you in, and incite your curiosity as to the real function behind these high performing robot-arms. “[These Robots] are used in more than 21,000 production environments every day. They can be integrated in any size company, working safely side-by-side with human workers.” Be sure to check out this amazing technological advancement!

2. KUKA Dancing Robots

Listen, sometimes you’re not sure that you’re missing something in life until you find it. That’s how we felt about this giant, adorable dancing robot that stole the SXSW spotlight (in the hearts of many). This area of the floor was constantly populated with people trying to snag to perfect boomerang, video or photo (us included). These robotic solutions aim to change manufacturing, and other sectors, but in the meantime they’ve also managed to steal our hearts! Check out the incredible progress being made over at KUKA, and marvel at the (adorable) technological advances coming our way.

3. 3D Printed, Digitized Food –  “Open Meals”

We call Austin, TX home…and here, at home, we don’t play when it comes to food. We love food; we are foodies. Whatever the latest trends are, we’re living them, we’re eating them, we’re all about them. So, naturally, when we came across the concept of “digitized food” that can be 3D printed, we we’re like “WHAT’S THE DEAL?” Turns out Open Meals is trying to bring sushi (and other foods) directly into your home through digitized transmission. You can literally build a “food database” and print on demand. Needless to say, our minds are blown. While there were no taste tests on-going at the show (disappointing, we know!), we are eager to get our hands on this product and find out if it translates to our taste buds!

4. The “Onstage” app display

Onstage is an amazing platform that wants to transform your theater going experience! We were lucky enough to get to know the company pretty well, as their Project Leader represented them at our SXSW Pitch Competition! We think this app is pretty neat, and we’re obsessed with the method of showcasing that the Onstage team came up with! Isn’t that “theater” amazing? We would go there, in a heartbeat! Check out Onstage to see the future of theater going, where no seat is a bad seat, and everyone around you can be an engaging part of the experience!

5. The Anheuser Busch“15 minutes to make history” booth (cheesey 360 photos for all!)

Look, we know this is cheesy but we don’t care- we like it! Inevitably at every floor show around the world, there will be some big-name companies doing something flashy, just to get those social media shares (Spoiler alert: it worked). This year at SXSW Anheuser Busch brought the game with their “15 minutes to make history” booth. This allowed you to get that amazing, motion captured, 360-degree photo, of you looking completely awesome. We saw this all over social media, and we saw lines of people queuing up to wait their turn! A really solid marketing strategy, delivering a tangible takeaway for consumers and social media users. Five stars!

6. The Lockheed Martin “Martian VR experience”

While there was no shortage of VR at SXSW, we were most intrigued by “The Martian VR Experience”. This particular platform was on display allowing you to enter the world of “The Martian”, as brought to the silver screen by Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon. Stepping inside of this “familiar” world made the disorientation of VR much more  bearable. They offered you the experience of flying through space, and exploring your surroundings as the character, Astronaut Mark Watney. We loved stepping into his shoes, and throwing space rocks around! If you haven’t slipped inside a pair of goggles and gloves, do it ASAP. You won’t regret it!

7. iSpace Moon Rover


Of course Japan brought all of the COOLEST things to the trade show floor. They could probably warrant their very own blog post, but in the mean time we’ll brag on one specific company. iSpace Moon Rover stole the show in its corner of the floor. They’re casually-flashy booth had a miniaturized moon rover, set against a space backdrop- prime for photo ops. Not only was this booth very cool and impressive, the company mission is ambitious. “Expand our planet. Expand our future.” iSpace wants to help create a more sustainable future, by creating a convergence of ecosystems between the Earth and the Moon.

“Life on Earth in the future will not be sustainable without satellite-based space infrastructure. Communications, agriculture, transportation, finance, environmental sustainability, as well as a variety of industries will all depend on this extraterrestrial infrastructure. Furthermore, its importance will continue to rise as technology continues to evolve with innovations such as IoT and self-driving vehicles.”

I mean, wow. This one really makes us step back and say “what are we doing with our lives”?

Well, one thing I know we will be doing (for sure) is coming back to SXSW in 2019! Our experience at this show has created ripples in our business that are creating waves. We’re so excited for everything we were a part of (especially the trade show), and we look forward to what’s going to steal the show next year!

To find out more about IA peruse our website.

HERE is where you can apply to join our program.


Originally posted on

-Morgan Messick

Morgan Circle

Morgan Messick is a Pop-Culture fanatic, Podcast Host, Booktuber & total #BookBabe living in Austin, TX with her Husband and two dogs Scoop & Eleanor. She aspires to grow her #TBR pile, do all of the hiking, travel as often as possible and make a joke at every turn. She utilizes laughter and yoga for daily medicine, thinks that Harry Potter is magic for all ages, and truly believes Die Hard is a great Christmas movie (SO DEAL WITH IT.)

Catch her musings here, and around the web — links in the “about” page!

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