Austin’s MasSpec Pen Wins Innovation Award at SXSW

The MasSpec Pen is a handheld probe that can non-destructively analyze human tissue samples to identify cancer. Vivian Abagiu / Univ. Of Texas At Austin

The only Austin-based startup to win an award in the 2018 SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards was MasSpec Pen by the Eberlin Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.

The MasSpec Pen provides a better way for surgeons to rapidly perform and diagnose cancer biopsies. It allows surgeons to extract molecules from tissue and test samples in real time. The sample is then analyzed through a database to see if it matches a cancer type such as thyroid, lung or ovarian cancer.

Silicon Hills News first wrote about the invention in 2016 after UT Austin Chemistry Professor Livia Eberlin presented the invention at the Innovation Center’s Startup Studio.

The MasSpec Pen won under the “Health, Med & BioTech” category.

The other award winners included:

AI & Machine Learning

Honoring digital systems which have the ability to adapt to changing data, stimuli, and circumstances; replicating learning, problem solving, and cognition: Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

Innovation in Connecting People

Honoring the best new way to connect and communicate with others: Read To Me by The Electric Factory, Montevideo, Uruguay

Music & Audio Innovation
Honoring 2017’s best device or service that changes and improves the way we listen to and enjoy music.Hands-Free Music Project by Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA

New Economy
Honoring those redefining the exchange of goods and services, from the sharing economy, to virtual currency, to micro-finance, to mobile-device-payment systems, and beyond: Autonomous Operations Platform for Selfdriving Fleets by Ridecell, San Francisco, CA

Privacy & Security
Honoring 2017’s most progressive accomplishment in the way we go about securing our data and ensuring our privacy: Ghostery Privacy Ad Blocker by Ghostery, New York, NY

Responsive Design
Honoring excellent digital design, creating the best-integrated interaction in terms of content, aesthetics, and functionality: The Coca-Cola Times Square Billboard by space150, Atlanta, GA

Scifi No Longer
Honoring the coolest scientific achievement or discovery that before 2017 was only possible in science fiction: The Dermal Abyss: When Tattoos meet Biotechnology by MIT Media Lab, Harvard Medical School and UC Davis, Davis, CA

Smart Cities
Honoring innovations in eco-friendly or sustainable energy, transportation, and IoT technology, making life in the connected world a smarter, cleaner, greener, and more efficient Internet of Everything: Jacques-Cartier Bridge Interactive Illumination Concept by Moment Factory, with: Réalisations Montréal Inc., Ambiances Design Productions, ATOMIC3, Éclairage Public / Ombrages, Lucion Média and UDO Design.Project directed by Jacques Cartier and Champlain Bridges Inc., Montreal, QC

Student Innovation
Honoring the student with an exceptional interactive technology project or startup; both of which are the future: Facebook Messenger Blood Type Bots by Ryan Leckie and Jakub Straka, Miami Ad School Europe, Hamburg, Germany

Visual Media Experience
Honoring content creation and delivery that moves beyond passive viewership by providing a more immersive and engaging entertainment experience: LEGO House Fish Designer by LEGO House/Trigger Global, Los Angeles, CA

VR & AR
Honoring breakthroughs in augmented and virtual reality technology including the application of new hardware or software which truly make the virtual a reality: Maestro: Empowering VR Storytelling Through Social Collaboration by Penrose Studios, San Francisco, CA

Wearable Tech
Honoring the new hardware that revolutionizes the convenience, comfort, functionality, efficiency, and fashion of having a device literally “on you.” Jacquard™ by Google, Mountain View, CA

Special Honors

David Carr Prize: Amanda Gail

Meme of the Year: Savage Prince George

Breakout Trend of the Event: Globally Connected: we’re in this together

Speaker of the Event: Esther Perel

People’s Choice Award: The World’s First AI Financial Advisor by Pefin, New York, NY

Best of Show: Swarm AI by Unanimous AI, San Francisco, CA

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