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South By Southwest Conference Kicks Off In Austin

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The annual South by Southwest Conference began Friday, and what was once a music and movie-heavy convention has shifted, with the majority of the focus now on the interactive portion of the event. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

Take a handful of this, a little bit of that and a dash of that, mix in a whole bunch of technology, and now you know why the South by Southwest Interactive Conference, held each March in Austin, is unlike any other tech event on the planet.

"South by Southwest Interactive is five days of panels, presentations, trade show, networking, idea sharing, connection making with lots and lots of very, very creative people," said Hugh Forrest of South by Southwest Interactive. "Lots and lots of hardware stuff, as well as lots of social networking and apps that have traditionally been our bread and butter."

With so many companies here trying to get noticed, it's hard to do just that, get noticed. But one company that did, without question, is MakerBot, one of the companies behind 3-D printing. They unveiled what's up next: 3-D scanning.

CEO Bre Pettis showed off the Digitizer 3-D Scanner, due out this fall, which would allow anyone, not just those with engineering or design backgrounds, to print pretty much anything they'd like.

"It is the ultimate device for digitizing your objects, for taking things that are around your house, you could even mock things up in clay, and then scan them, digitize them, then, make virtual 3-D models," Pettis said

A perfect example of the range of wild stuff you see at South by Southwest is perhaps the ultimate device for looking cool on: a skateboard with little to no skateboard experience required called the Boosted Board. It's not just an electric skateboard, but an electric skateboard controlled completely via a wireless remote.

"It has throttle to go forward," said Sho Takahashi of Boosted Boards. "You can also break. It has a six-mile range, has a top speed of 20 miles per hour, but it also has enough power to take you up San Francisco's steepest hill at 20 miles per hour."

So while a plus is, again, skateboarding with no experience, a minus is that it's also skateboarding with no exercise.

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