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Robo-boxing, electo-tennis and more at the SXSW Interactive opening party sponsored by Frog and Microsoft

The Palmer Events Centre exuded nerd cool last night at the SXSW Interactive opening party. The event was staged outdoors with trans/electro-rave music, as well as live, interactive gaming stations, where guests can mingle, play and network.

Electro Tennis is a giant interactive pong game. 

What made these gaming stations unique are the types of games guests can play. Electro Tennis, is like ping pong but bigger—30 x 30 feet of electro-mechanical interface using an aluminum carriage and computer controlled stepper motors. Two teams play against each other by moving paddles (not a joystick) while the game is tracked on the projection screen.

A guest giving the Light Trike game a go.

Light Trikes, is a game where two people can hop on opposing stationary trikes (deconstructed exercise bikes) and play a game that mimics the Tron Light Cyle Deathrace by peddling and steering while looking at the game on the projection screen.

A giant Connect Four game that pits the crowd against the machine.


Boxing Bots (pictured above), created by Microsoft’s Coding4Fun team, is a game where two opponents box by controlling 6 foot metal android robots using Kinect’s motion sensing technology in 16 foot square ring.

The MakerBot had guests creating 3D objects, such as this cup (being made in the machine), and the skull (sitting in the foreground). 

The "Make Things Area" kept us quite busy with DIY light pins (pictured above), made of the different coloured LED lights, magnets, button cell batteries and electrical tape that littered various tables. Guests can stick the LED light pins on their shirts, badges or the “Where are you from?” board.

"Where are you from?" metal board where guests left their LED light pins to indicate their place of origin. 

Light painting with Joel Bassuk (digital communications manager, Oxfam), Brian Fitzgerald (communications manager, Greenpeace International), and Chris Eaton (social media, Greenpeace).

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