Trends to Watch at SXSW Interactive 2013

February 28, 2013

9:00 am

As tens of thousands of people gather, chatter, download, and code at SXSW, somehow trends and themes emerge. Last year the talk of SXSW Interactive was social discovery – location-aware apps that help you find people nearby.

Here are some of our predictions for trends at SXSWi 2013. (If you want to hear the official take, attend Sunday’s panel on Current Trends at SXSW Interactive with SXSWi director Hugh Forrest.)

Quantified Self

You’ll see many of the SXSW attendees wearing colored wristbands or belt clips – new, wearable technologies like the Nike+ Fuelband or the Fitbit that are tracking their every step and movement. As this trend develops, companies are coming up with new devices to track blood and brainwaves, and giving us insights that can have a real impact on health.


3D Printing

With 3D printers dropping in cost and new devices like the 3Doodler 3D printing pen, more and more people are bringing their ideas to life in plastic (or just replacing an old doorstop). A technology that businesses have been using for years to prototype their products is now going mainstream(ish), with Makerbot’s Replicator at $2,199.



With a keynote from Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, space is bound to be on the collective brain at SXSW. Private companies getting into the game of space exploration means more innovation and progress toward our fantasies of space travel for fun and colonizing other planets (one of SpaceX’s long-term goals).


Robots and AI 

The uneasy struggle continues between our love of robots and our fear that they will rule the world. Startups are now building robots and artificial intelligences that can do more than just vacuum: they can give us information, keep us entertained, predict our preferences, and help us lose weight.


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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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