Tech Week Ahead: SXSW Interactive

Audie Cornish talks with Laura Sydell for a preview of South by Southwest Interactive. The tech event, one of the most popular showcases for tech startups and emerging technologies, starts later this week in Austin.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. And it's now time for All Tech Considered.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: First, a big event coming up. South by Southwest begins at the end of the week in Austin, Texas. It's no longer just a famous music festival. Techies will be there too for South by Southwest Interactive. It's a big showcase for tech trends and start-ups.

NPR's Laura Sydell will be there and she joins us for a quick preview. And, Laura, to start, what are some of the big trends that you expect to get a lot of attention in Austin?

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Well, we've seen a lot of coverage of 3D printing and you will see a lot of new startups doing 3D printing and taking it to new places. For example, you'll see 3D printing for people with disabilities. Or, in fashion, say, print your own bikini.

We're also probably going to see a lot of startups in solar power and space exploration. One of the keynotes is Elon Musk who's the founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, a space exploration company.

CORNISH: And is there anything you're really excited to see?

SYDELL: Yes, there is a motion controller that will let you just move your hands without touching your computer and control your computer. You could browse the Web. You can do all kinds of things without touching anything. And this is called the Leap Motion Controller. And people are going to get the first, shall I say, hands-off try...

(LAUGHTER)

SYDELL: ...at South by Southwest this year.

CORNISH: Well, Laura, you're going to have to let us know if you like it.

SYDELL: I will.

CORNISH: That's NPR's Laura Sydell. Laura, thank you.

SYDELL: You're welcome.

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