Hey! I’m at South by Southwest! If you haven’t heard of it, SXSW is an annual music festival in Austin, Texas. Some years ago a tech conference, called SXSW Interactive, sprung up on the side. Interactive takes place a few days before the music festival and it’s what I’m in Austin for. I’m here for the next three days through a program organized by University of Texas students called InteractATX, that has brought 100 of the top student entrepreneurs and technologists from around the country to this conference.
Right now I’m sitting in an exhibit hall watching a simulcast of the opening keynote (main exhibit is totally full!). Bre Pettis just kicked things off with a discussion of 3D printing. Pettis is CEO of MakerBot, which sells a 3D printer called the Replicator. He just announced a new product called the Digitizer, which is effectively a scanner for 3D objects, drastically simplifying the process of generating a 3D printable file. This is AWESOME! The connection to hackathons, which are something of my specialty, is imminently clear to me. The rise of hackathons (which I’m sure I’ll address more in depth in a later post) is proof that people want to build things, and widely accessible 3d printing and scanning will just further that trend. Just think about the possibilities if we can put these scanners and printers in schools across the country. The learning potential from being able to scan real 3d objects, edit a CAD file and hit print seems so awesome to me, and could be as impactful as the “learn to code” revolution.
Well, this conference is clearly off to a great start – hope the rest of the weekend will match up. Check out some photos below and be sure to check back here for more updates!