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SXSW: 5 Tech Terms to Sound Like an Insider

SXSW Interactive Trends - H 2013
Courtesy of Olaf Diegel
A guitar made with 3D printing.

The next Twitter? From big data to space exploration, what tech mavens will be texting about at this year's festival.

This story first appeared in the March 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter.

BIG DATA

Analyzing the incalculable digital media content flying around the web increasingly will fall to big data. "Two things allow Pandora to function," says the company's chief tech Tom Conrad. "The team that listens to every song and the billions of data points they collect via big data. That is what allows them to create the ideal playlist."

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3D PRINTING

3D printing works by layering plastic or metal powders to create everything from airplane parts to guitars (above) without investing in costly molds. "There are companies out there developing ways to make human tissue with 3D printing," says Nicholas Terzo, who sits on SXSW's board of advisers.

BODY TECH

Body-embedded technologies hold promise for improving physical and mental well-being. Among those on the way: mobile-enabled biofeedback apps and spray-on microsensors that mediate stress or forewarn of medical emergencies.

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START-UPS

The economy might be sluggish, but tech start-ups rage on. SXSW hosts a Startup Village where, this year, ventures with such names as CloudBees, Glocal and Jobhuk vie to become the next Foursquare or Facebook -- or last year's SXSW breakout, the social networking app Highlight for the Android and Apple iOS mobile operating systems.

SPACE EXPLORATION

The festival has planned more than a dozen space-themed seminars, including a keynote by Elon Musk, a South African entrepreneur and inspiration for Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark character in the Iron Man series, and a session called "The Hacker's Guide to the Galaxy."