News Releases

Sony announces further details of SXSW 2019 WOW Studio
Dr. Kate Darling, Olaf Blanke and other Luminaries in AI and robotics to join Sony for discussions about the intersection of AI advancements and human creativity March 9-12

TOKYO, March 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Corporation ("Sony") will exhibit at SXSW (South by Southwest) 2019, the world's largest creative business festival in Austin, Texas, from Saturday, March 9th to Tuesday, March 12th. Inside the Sony booth "WOW Studio," there will be programs that combine discussion sessions and presentations with experiential exhibits under the theme of "Technology × Creativity." This press release is to announce updated information on Sony's exhibit, more guest speakers and experiential exhibits at the SXSW 2019 Sony booth.

Sony Logo

At the panel sessions at the SXSW 2019 Sony booth, guest panelists from various industries and professionals from Sony who are members of projects still under research and development, will appear and discuss "whether technology enriches humans' creativity."

Saturday, March 9, 1 p.m. CTCan Technology Re-envision Human Creativity?
A discussion of several themes including how technological development will deepen understanding of human beings, and how it may expand our creativity.

  • Hiroaki Kitano, President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)
  • Dr. Jürgen Schmidhuber, father of modern AI
  • Hiroshi Ishiguro, the doyen of research on humanoid robots

Saturday, March 9, 3 p.m. CTIs it silly to care about a robot?
A conversation about the intersection of humanity and robotics and why humans have developed an emotional connection to robots.

  • Dr. Kate Darling, Research Specialist at the MIT Media Lab
  • Hiroshi Ishiguro, the doyen of research on humanoid robots

Sunday, March 10, 12:15 p.m. CT How will technology (AI) expand human abilities?
The theme of the panel discussion will be the expansion of human creativity through AI, a topic discussed all over the world.

  • Hiroaki Kitano, President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc. (Sony CSL)
  • Peter Stone, Professor, UTexas at Austin researching AI/Robotics; President and COO of Cogitai, Inc.
  • Garry Kasparov, Avast Security Ambassador

Sunday, March 10, 5:00 p.m. CT Is AI the secret ingredient?
A discussion and demonstration about food pairing based on the aroma pairing science and how AI could contribute to gastronomy. 

  • Masahiro Fujita, Sony Corporation, Chief Technology Engineer
  • Michael Spranger, Sony CSL researcher
  • François Chartier, pioneering researcher in the field of pairing molecules in food and wine

Monday, March 11, 12:30 p.m. CTIs Technology our Seventh Sense?
A deep dive into the possibilities of enhancing human sensitivity using technology.

  • Olaf Blanke, Professor of Neuroscience, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
  • Shunichi Kasahara, Sony CSL researcher

Tuesday, March 12, 2:00 p.m. CT: How will technology expand possibilities of new entertainment?
A discussion about the possibilities of technology expanding for entertainment. In addition, as the latest entertainment company that Sony Innovation Fund invests, two companies will appear during this session.

  • Tetsuya Mizuguchi, a game creator who aims to expand synesthesia by using mixtures of videos, sounds and VR
  • Glenn Gainor, head of physical production for Sony Pictures Screen Gems and President of Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment & Technology
  • Masahiro Matsuhashi, producer of the new movie "Kingdom" releasing in Japan on April 19. In addition, as the latest entertainment company that *Sony Innovation Fund invests, two companies will appear.

*Sony Innovation Fund (SIF)
The Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) is a corporate venture capital (CVC) established in July 2016. It aims to further strengthen collaboration with leading external researchers and startup companies around the world, accelerate business creation in the areas where Sony will focus on in the future such as AI and robotics, and support the growth of investee businesses using Sony Group resources, all to create a more open ecosystem. To date, it has resulted in investment in over 20 firms from Japan, the United States, Europe, and elsewhere.

*The stage program and time may change without notice
*Please refer to the SXSW 2019 Sony Official Site for more details

Guest speakers
The new additions to the guest speakers are:

  • Hiroaki Kitano
    President and CEO of Sony Computer Science Laboratories, Inc., Corporate Executive of Sony Corporation, President of The Systems Biology Institute, and Professor at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University. He is also a Founding President of the Robocup Federation, President of International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI) (2009-2011), and Member of the AI & Robotics Council of World Economic Forum (2016-2018).
    He received The Computers and Thought Award from the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence in 1993, Prix Ars Electronica 2000, and Nature Award for Creative Mentoring in Science (Mid Carrier) in 2009, as well as being an invited artist for Biennale di Venezia 2000 and Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2001.

  • Kate Darling
    Leading Expert in Social Robotics and MIT Media Lab Research Specialist.
    She investigates social robotics and conducts experimental studies on human-robot interaction. Dr. Darling's writing and research anticipates difficult questions that lawmakers, engineers, and the wider public will need to address as human-robot relationships evolve in the coming decades. Named one of the "Women in Robotics You Need to Know About" by Robohub.

  • Toshihiro Konno
    Chief Financial Officer, at Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), Inc.
    Joined in 1981. He developed "Chaku-Uta®" service in 2002 and "Chaku-Uta Full ®" service in 2004. In 2008, he served as Representative Director and President of LABEL MOBILE INC (currently, RecoChoku Co., Ltd.). After serving as President and Representative Director and President of booklista Co.,Ltd., which develops e-book related business in 2010, he was inaugurated as Director of SME in 2014. 

  • Tatsuya Yamori
    Belongs to Strategic Marketing Div. and Corporate Planning Strategy Div. at Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. Since joining the company in 2010, he has been involved in the music label business, music data analysis, etc. Currently enrolled in marketing and management planning, responsible for developing new business involving next-generation creators. He is an owner of absolute pitch and sound/color synesthesia, acting in multiple areas from creative execution to data science and technology.

  • Peter Stone
    Professor, UTexas at Austin researching AI/Robotics; President and COO of Cogitai, Inc.
    Peter Stone is the founder and director of the Learning Agents Research Group (LARG) within the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Texas at Austin, as well as associate department chair and chair of the University's Robotics Portfolio Program. He is also the President, COO, and co-founder of Cogitai, Inc. His research focuses mainly on machine learning, multiagent systems, and robotics.

  • François Chartier
    François Chartier is regarded internationally as one of the pioneering researchers in terms of recipe creation and wine and food harmonies. His first discovery among the field of "aromatic harmonies and sommelier" was written in his book "Taste Buds and Molecules." In 2010, the book was awarded "Best Innovative CookBook in the World," at the Gourmand World CookBook Awards in Paris. He lately published the book "Les Recettes de Papilles et Molécules" which won the same prize once again.

  • Masahiro Fujita
    Masahiro Fujita joined Sony Corporation in 1981. He started Robot Entertainment project from 1993, and developed entertainment robot AIBO and a small humanoid robot QRIO. He became a director of Sony Intelligence Dynamics Laboratories Inc. established in 2004, where he led a new approach of studies for intelligence, aiming at realizing emergence of intelligence with emphasizing embodiment and dynamics. In 2012 he became a head of S-Project Office at System Research & Development Group (SRDG), R&D PF, where he again started robotics R&D. In 2016, he became a head of Technology Strategy Department, where he is in charge of strategy planning of SRDG's technology and incubation development. In addition to R&D position, in 2016 to present he became Chief Technology Engineer, AI Business, Incubation Platform, where new business developments according to Sony's "AIxRobotics" strategy announced in 2016 has been in execution.

  • Michael Spranger
    Michael Spranger is a Senior Research Scientist at the AI collaboration office of Sony Corporation based in Tokyo, Japan. There, he is focusing on R&D for AI cooking robots, in particular, knowledge extraction from images and text, as well as skill acquisition for cooking manipulation. Michael's research also focuses on various related topics such as shared autonomy between humans and robots, natural language interaction for robots and neural-symbolic reasoning and learning.

  • Olaf Blanke
    Olaf Blanke is Bertarelli Foundation Chair in Cognitive Neuroprosthetics and Professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL), where he directs the Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience. He is Professor at Geneva University Hospital and founded and directed EPFL's Center for Neuroprosthetics at Geneva's Campus Biotech. Blanke pioneered the development and integration of virtual reality (VR) and robotics with human neuroscience, psychophysics, and medical applications. His research centers on consciousness, embodiment, and human augmentation. He discovered the multisensory brain mechanisms of altered states of consciousness including astonishing human experiences such as doubles, out-of-body experiences, and invisible presences. Combining neuroscience insights and approaches from VR and robotics, Blanke launched the field of immersive digiceuticals based on technology-mediated conscious embodiment of virtual limbs, avatars, and other surrogate bodies in health and disease.

  • Shunichi Kasahara
    Master's degree in Applied Physics, Human-Computer Interaction at Waseda University and joined Sony Corporation in 2008. Engaged in research and development of user interface. Visiting researcher at MIT media lab in 2012. Participated in the Sony Computer Science Laboratory as a researcher since 2014. Based on the research concept "Superception," he has interest in controlling and expanding perception by computer. The result of his research has been presented at the major international conferences of Computer Graphics, Human-Computer Interaction, SXSW, and also, interactive exhibition and social implementation.

  • Tetsuya Mizuguchi
    Producing creative activities with synesthetic approach such as video game, music, video, application design etc. Representative work such as "Rez" and "LUMINES." He is also a "pioneer of VR research and practice" who continues to produce highly original game work that represent "fusion of all senses." He was elected to be one of "Digital 50" (50 digital innovators of the world) in 2006. Visiting Professor at Kanazawa Institute of Technology, Professor at Graduate School of Media Design, Keio University.

  • Glenn Gainor
    Hollywood Film Producer, head of physical production for Sony Pictures Screen Gems and President of Innovation Studios, Sony Entertainment & Technology. He has managed and overseen the motion pictures at Screen Gems since joining the company in 2007 including "Burlesque," "Friends with Benefits," "Think Like A Man" etc. He has made a number of innovations in movie production, such as making efforts to produce eco-friendly movies with minimal impact to the environment and adopting new techniques for shooting techniques.

  • Shinzo Matsuhashi Producer "Kingdom")
    Film producer, CEO of production company CREDEUS. After debuting as co-producer of "Battle Royale" in 2000, he produced numerous Japanese Box Office success as "Rurouni Kenshin" (12), "Psychic Kusuo" (17), "Fifty First Kisses" (18) and "Gintama" series (17&18). His latest work "Kingdom" will be released in Japan on April 19, 2019.

  • Contents of experiential exhibits
    Explore the latest R&D projects applying Sony's cutting-edge technology and newest prototypes.
    The additional exhibits are as follows.

  • Meet-up Lounge
    At the venue, we set up a meet-up lounge as a place where people visiting SXSW and Sony engineers and product planning staff can communicate directly. Also we will exhibit the following projects using Sony's latest technology.
    We are planning to have presentations by technology companies that Sony Innovation Fund (SIF) and Seed Acceleration Program (SAP) invests and supports.

  • Flash Darts
    Joint exhibition from Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund and Sony PCL Inc. It is a darts game with interactive content. We propose a new play method that is different from the conventional dart software by making the material adaptable and movable by combining projection mapping and the latest infrared sensor device. The "Haptic Floor," equipped with Sony's haptics technology (tactile presentation technology), is installed to make it easier for you to enjoy darts with a sense of realism and immersiveness. 

  • Triporous
    Sony's exclusively developed Triporous is a unique finely structured porous carbonous material made primarily of surplus biomass (organic resources derived from renewable organisms) such as rice husks, including silica. Due to this, it can easily absorb large substances at large molecular weights that have been difficult to absorb with conventional technologies. This includes organic molecules such as humin and poisonous algae blooms that cause water pollutions as well as allergens, viruses, and small proteins such as enzymes. Through these unique characteristics, Triporous provides new value for various products including environmental filters that remove pollutants from the air and water.

  • Get latest information from Sony Event apps
    In Sony's Event apps, we will update the latest information of WOW Studio. Also, in some exhibitions, you can bring back video and other content after the experience. The apps can be downloaded from the application store.

  • Date and time
    Saturday, March 9 through Tuesday, March 12, 2019. 12: 00- 8:00 p.m. CT

  • Place
    WOW Studio
    Address: 99 Trinity St. Austin, TX 78701 USA

  • SXSW 2019 Sony Official Site

About SXSW
SXSW (South by Southwest) is an event featuring music, film and interactive media that has taken place in Austin, Texas, since 1987. The event attended by professions across the world has focused on helping creative people achieve their goals by providing networking opportunities through multiple sessions, exhibits and screenings. The diversity of topics discussed by people from many different backgrounds is known to allow for unexpected discoveries. SXSW 2019 will be held from March 8 (Fri) to March 17 (Sun) and the Interactive Festival themed on new technologies and business ideas will be held from March 8 (Fri) to March 12 (Tue).



For further information: For media inquiries: Sony SXSW2019 Global PR Department, Ketchum: Liz Villafan,, 310.437.2539