Leaders Driving Change at SXSW: Part Two


The films and music that debut at SXSW every year may be what people remember, but alongside that star power stands innovation that changes the world. There will be no red carpet or paparazzi for the developers of these new products, but surely people around the world will feel their impact for years to come.

On part II of the MarketScale SXSW Podcast Series, hear how both a 3D printing company and a foreign airline service are making the most out of existing materials and why a team of scientists is trying to capture images of something previously unseen by cameras.

How 3D Printing Is Scaling The Manufacturing Process

Six years after Markforged was founded, the Watertown, Massachusetts-based 3D printing company has made it to SXSW to be recognized as one of the most innovative companies in the digital world for its additive manufacturing software.

Although it did not take home the grand prize in the Robotics and Hardware category at the Innovation Awards on Monday, March 11, Markforged spoke to MarketScale about how the company has become a leader in 3D printing, particularly with metal and carbon fiber products.

Markforged has differentiated itself by printing custom parts and tools for manufacturers with its software program.

“The actual concept for manufacturing is going to radically change because of things like affordable 3D printing,” director of communications Trak Lord told MarketScale.

By essentially storing inventory digitally and having the ability to custom print parts on-demand, any company that uses heavy machinery will be able to cut overhead and storage space.

Education on the topic is still growing and Lord believes SXSW is the perfect place to elevate the profile not only of what Markforged is doing, but all the implications of additive manufacturing.

“3D printing is really kind of the decathlon of technology because it combines material sciences, physics, hardware, software, full stack engineering, so we’re doing all sorts of really cool stuff,” Lord said.

Promoting Sustainability in Travel

Austin, Texas has its fair share of foreign cuisine but this week the capital city is being introduced to something truly different. Scandinavian Airlines is coming to town with hospitality on its mind and is manifesting it in the way of a nine-course meal prepared by a trio of Michelin-starred chefs from Norway, Sweden and Finland.

This meal will not be a classic Scandinavian delicacy though. To promote its message of sustainability, the company is requiring the chefs use entirely food that would otherwise be going to waste.

“We went to a bakery last night and collected some bread crumbs, wasted bread crumbs, that would normally be thrown out. What we’re doing is converting them into pasta dough,” vice president of brand marketing Didrik Fjeldstad said. “So, we’re trying to sort of make a sustainable ecosystem of food and present that to the Austinites.”

Whether it is in the food at the House of Scandinavia at SXSW this week or in the way the aviation company looks at lowering its carbon footprint, Scandinavian Airlines is coming to America with a message of sustainability and hopes to bring other lessons back home.

“We really truly believe that travel makes you better people. When we travel, we become wise, more tolerant, inspired,” Fjeldstad said.

The airline has a goal of 25% reduction of carbon emissions by 2030, according to Fjeldstad, and by hosting the community at House of Scandinavia he hopes local communities can become more aware and engaged in ways to accomplish that.

Photographing A Black Hole

Black holes do not let light escape, according to University of Arizona professor Dimitrios Psaltis, so how does a camera get a photo of one? This is the challenge for Psaltis and the team at Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), a project designed to create an Earth-sized telescope network that can capture images of black holes.

“Most of the time what we do in science, is as you said, is taking a tiny little step that is completely inconsequential,” Psaltis said. “And yet, once every generation, once every two generations we are lucky enough to be in front of something major like taking a picture of a black hole. To me at least, that is not something that happens all the time.”

Psaltis spoke over the weekend about the progress EHT has made since it launched in 2017 and how this endeavor will give people a better understanding of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Images and findings from the project are expected to be revealed later this year.

Stay tuned for part III of MarketScale’s series of conversation with SXSW speakers and the leaders driving change in their industries, coming out tomorrow, Thursday, March 14.

For the latest news, videos, and podcasts in the Software & Electronics Industry, be sure to subscribe to our industry publication.

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