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Five cool things from SXSW: robots chatting, YouTube's 6 second haikus and more

As SXSW comes to a close for another year, some delegates from the marketing services sector offer their views on some of the cool stuff they saw while spending a few days around Austin, today Marie Stafford from J Walter Thompson Innovation Group tells us what she enjoyed.

1. Virtual hats

There were more headset-experiences than you could shake a stick at this year, but Inition’s Spatium, which celebrated the sculptural qualities of one of Philip Treacy’s millinery creations for Madonna truly stood out for its visual artistry.

2. Robots chat

Two robots – accompanied by rockstar roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro - engaging in some seriously philosophical chat, culminating in the assessment that ‘human life has no value’ was a sight you don’t see every day.

3. YouTube’s six second haikus

At YouTube House, we saw great works of film and literature distilled into charming six second narratives to launch the new Bumper format. Shameless plug for JWT New York’s hilarious take on The Origin of the Species, which questions how far we humans have evolved. If at all.

4. Weird science

Kudos to General Electric, who found a way to make hard science sexy, mixing learning and laughter. Their ImprovScience events were a clever way to promote the brand, combining talks on topics like cell biology and brain augmentation with riotous improvised comedy.

5. Caterpillar computing

From Japan, these soft-bodied robots squirm and wriggle just like caterpillars, nimbly going where humans can’t go – across thin tree branches or inside bushes. To what end is so far unclear, but they were lots of fun to watch.

Marie Stafford is European Director at J Walter Thompson Innovation Group. You can read yesterdays Five Cool Things here.

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