All eyes on SXSW

The Geek Spring Break is less beer bongs and bikinis, more brands and brave new technology, but that doesn’t mean the party is any less pumping. Take a look at our five favourite things to happen at SXSW Interactive:

Weekend warrior


Game of Thrones fans were treated to an interactive experience like no other, where they could become the show’s teenage heroine, Arya Stark in a dedicated warehouse, specially named SXSWesteros for the occasion. Attendees could take part in a virtual sword fight training session – where Bluetooth and sensor equipped swords were provided for participants to take aim at virtual targets. The best bit? People could create a custom poster of their sword slashing efforts to share across social. In other SXSWesteros news, there was also Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale, a Game of Thrones-inspired beer to hand for thirsty punters.

Love is in the air?


Tinder users at the Austin festival may have encountered the profile of an attractive 25-year-old called Ava over the course of the weekend. Matches were made and conversations with the attractive Ava were started, although not everything was as it first seemed. When Ava began directing her matches to her Instagram profile, it became clear that what had in fact unfolded was a clever marketing stunt. Her profile page and singular image directed people to the website of movie Ex Machina, which was screened for the first time at SXSW. Clever or creepy? You decide…

Everyone adores a puppy


SXSW is so monumental that it can be difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. That is, unless you have some cute pups to hand. Mophie, a brand that makes battery packs for cell phones, took careful note of this and called in a pack of St. Bernard rescue dogs to charge attendees phones. Festival goers with dying handsets could tweet a screenshot of their low battery @Mophie for a chance to be rescued by one of the dogs – who were kitted out with keychain chargers in small barrel necklaces. N’awwww.

Robots are the future


Despite a handful of anti artificial intelligence protestors at the gates of the festival, if the showcases at this year’s SXSW were anything to go by, robots are the future, whether you like it or not. A filmmaking robot, a robot that mirrors the movement of your face and a drone that 3D prints concrete were all showing off their skills at the robot petting zoo, which hosted around 20 different bots, including some which have already aided with disaster relief efforts.

Meerkat could be the new Snapchat


Unveiled for the first time at SXSW and a mere three weeks old (see what we did there?!) Meerkat was the new app that got everyone tweeting. The concept is similar to Snapchat except that video content can be live streamed. Already Twitter has attempted to stop the service piggybacking on their platform by cutting off access to their social graph but that hasn’t slowed Meerkat’s growth. It currently has around 150,000 users!