The DICE Group
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The DICE Group

Looking Back on Jefferson at SXSW

Crystal Folkes

South by Southwest (SXSW) is a massive festival and conference held annually in Austin, Texas. This year, I had the opportunity to represent The DICE Group’s XR Lab on behalf of Jefferson Health and had an amazing experience that re-energized my enthusiasm for extended reality (XR).

Photo courtesy of @matthenryvideo and @contentkev | Content by Leap Motion, Cat Explorer

Bringing The DICE Group’s XR Lab to SXSW

We set up shop at the Amplify Philly House, an outpost hosted by Pour Choices that put Philadelphia’s thriving tech and creative scene in the international spotlight. Our area included a 3D printing group led by Rob Pugliese and a booth showcasing several Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) technologies Jefferson is exploring.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Folkes and Rob Pugliese

Attendees had the opportunity to try the Oculus Go, Oculus Rift, and Magic Leap headsets. I guided people through their XR experience while developing a better grasp on how to introduce people to this emerging technology.

My 4 takeaways as an XR tour guide at SXSW

  1. Show, don’t tell.
    It’s one thing to tell someone about the potential of XR, but it’s another thing to let them see it for themselves. By walking people through their XR experience, we were able to introduce them to how we can use it in healthcare.
  2. Adapt your content to your audience.
    While planning our exhibit, we knew most people would find medical content overwhelming. We also knew that they would only spend a few minutes at our booth before moving on, so we opted to showcase lighter, simpler, and more palatable XR content that would appeal to a broader audience.
  3. Ask meaningful questions.
    After participants completed their experience, having questions prepared allowed me to capture their initial impressions. I work with XR technology every day, so asking questions helps me remember what it’s like to use this tool for the first time.
  4. Extended reality is for everyone.
    You don’t need to be a techie to get excited about XR. Everyone who put on a headset was interested in seeing where this technology is going.
Photo courtesy of Crystal Folkes

Keeping the conversation going

Participants even had a chance to win an Oculus Go of their own. Each day, we hosted a poll that asked healthcare-related questions and displayed the answers coming in live on a TV.

Image Courtesy of Crowdpurr

There was so much excitement from everyone who stopped by our booth. While some people already tried XR devices, many others had not. SXSW allowed us to raise awareness about this technology and inspire people to learn more.

The public is ready to embrace XR

The highlight of my experience was watching people’s reactions. People usually shy away from new technology, but most of our participants were ready to experience XR first hand. Almost everyone who tried a headset for the first time smiled and wanted to understand the technology more deeply. Exposing our audience to these devices allowed them to better understand the potential of XR in medicine.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Folkes

I also noticed that no one at SXSW was doing what we are doing. There were other XR exhibits, but I didn’t see any specializing in healthcare.

This validated everything the XR Lab is doing at DICE. Although XR is a fairly new technology, it’s on the edge of becoming part of our everyday life. By showcasing XR that put smiles on the faces of patients, clinicians, and students, our team is leading the charge in transforming healthcare.

DICE’s XR Lab is innovating healthcare

SXSW was an amazing experience. The festival had an incredible atmosphere of excitement, curiosity, and exploration where everyone was discovering new concepts and technologies.

Video courtesy of @matthenryvideo and @contentkev

Our presence at SXSW allowed us to showcase Jefferson’s ability to modernize an industry often considered “old-fashioned.” I’m excited to be part of this continuing effort to introduce the public to the technologies we are developing within the world of medicine.

Interested in learning more about DICE’s XR Lab? Find out more on our website.

About Crystal Folkes

Crystal is a Digital Designer at Jefferson’s Digital Innovation and Consumer Experience (DICE) group. She works exclusively on the XR Lab where she creates digital content for her team.



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