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What 3D printing can do for your bored toddler

Ok, that was cool.

Bre Pettis, the founder and CEO of MakerBot, a Brooklyn-based manufacturer of inexpensive 3D printers, gave the opening remarks at SXSW Interactive. He was a natural choice to kick off the festival. Social media is old news -- 3D printing is every geek's favorite technology-of-the-moment.

Pettis said all the usual things you might expect of someone preaching his own start-up's gospel. Thanks to cheap 3D printers, "creativity is more accessible in the thing world."

"3D printing is ushering in a new industrial revolution."

"3D printing is awesome." He said that more than once.

But then he showed a slide, in which a custom-printed plastic part connected a set of Brio wooden train track pieces to a Duplo brick.  And every parent in the audience who had once entertained his or toddlers with a big pile of Duplo and Brio tracks simultaneously went: "oh, wow, I wish I'd had that, back in the day."

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