Ticketmaster unveils an audio ticket that will end queuing at gigs and festivals

The experience of being snaked around metal barriers, waiting excitedly with ticket in hand, to enter music venues and festivals could be over thanks to a new technology that admits gig-goers by listening for a discrete digital audio signal broadcast from a smartphone.

The new e-ticketing system, called Presence, is the result of a collaboration between Ticketmaster and Lisnr, a data-over-audio company that has pioneered using ultrasonic sound technology it calls “smart tones” to transmit information between devices.

Using the new tech, rather than having to scan each individual ticket, all it would take to get into an event would be for gig-goers to take out their phone and open the Presence app, which would then broadcast ticketing data.

Microphones installed at the event would then listen for the audio signals emitted by the app at between 18.75 kHz and 19.2 kHz, and you’re in.

Images courtesy of Lisnr

“We used identity as our North Star — our guiding light to develop a product that makes each individual fan experience the greatest it could be,” said Justin Burleigh, EVP of product at Ticketmaster.

“This means using identity to drive customized experiences based on who you are and where you are, eliminating fraud, resulting in a safer environment, and delivering more personalization based on the specific event you’re attending.”

Although, other Lisnr’s tech is by no means the first paperless ticketing system, with QR codes being the main alternative. The company say alternative technologies are expensive as they require more infrastructure in venues to work.

Lisnr-powered tickets also have the added benefit of being tethered to specific people’s mobile device, meaning venues will always know who is at a gig.

Aside from the security benefits, this will give Ticketmaster another tool to help crackdown on ticketing fraud and help police to resale market.

Future plans for Lisnr’s technology include allowing attendees to buy items in venues using their smart tone tickets, and it could also be used to enable venues to send proximity-based messaging to attendees, which could mean artists engaging with fans or venues using the tech to sell goods and merchandise.

However, Lisnr’s ambitions reach beyond the ticketing industry, and the tech has recently been used by Jaguar Land Rover in a test that replaced keys with a mobile phone that could alert the car of a particular drivers’ presence.

When the car detected the personalised signal it would unlock and adjust the seat settings.

Researchers believe modified CRISPR could be used without editing DNA

Researchers from the US' Salk Institute have used CRISPR as a switch that turns genes on and off and allows harmful mutant genes to be disabled without affecting the structure of their DNA. Until this development gene editing using CRISPR carried the risk of causing unintended effects.

Source: Gizmodo

Nissan to trial robo-taxis in Japan next year

The carmaker Nissan is is partnering with Japanese software company DeNA to test self-driving taxis on Japanese roads from March next year. The free trials will be held over a two-week period in March in Yokohama, and Nissan believes the service could be officially launched in Japan in the early 2020s.

Source: BBC

Apparently, gaming can save your brain

Research participants who played 3D platforming games like the iconic Super Mario 64 had more gray matter in their hippocampus after playing, That part of the brain transforms short-term memories into long-term ones and maintains the spatial memory that helps us navigate the world around us.

Source: Inverse

San Francisco votes to restrict delivery robots

San Francisco officials have voted to restrict where delivery robots can go in the city, amid concerns about the safety of pedestrians, particularly elderly people and children. Start-ups will now have to get permits to use such bots, which will be restricted to less crowded urban areas.

Source: BBC

Steam stops accepting Bitcoin

When Valve first started accepting Bitcoin in April 2016 it was trading around $450 per coin. Today, with Bitcoin surging past $12,000 per coin, Valve has announced that "Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin."

Source: Ars Technica

The maker of Budweiser beer reserves 40 Tesla electric trucks

Budweiser beer maker Anheuser-Busch has reserved 40 Tesla all-electric Semi trucks as it seeks to reduce fuel costs and vehicle emissions. The reservation is one of the largest publicly announced orders Tesla has received, while production of the trucks is scheduled to begin by 2019.

Source: Reuters

The UK government is launching a fintech competition to help renters get on the property ladder

The UK government is offering £2 million to fintech developers who come up with a tool that lets renters record and share their payment data.

The Rent Recognition Challenge, which was first announced as part of the chancellors’ autumn budget, will task developers with finding a way to record payment data from Britain’s 11 million renters in a bid to improve their credit scores and ultimately help them to get a mortgage.

“Most lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are unable to take rental data into account, because they don’t have access to it.

“The Rent Recognition Challenge will challenge firms to develop an innovative solution to this problem and help to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation,” said the economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay.

Economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay. Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew

The competition will provide an initial round of grant funding to six promising proposals to help turn their ideas into workable products.

A panel of leading figures from the Fintech sector will then whittle the six down to just a handful of teams who will receive further funding and support to bring their ideas to market.

“People’s monthly rent is often their biggest expense, so it makes sense for it to be recognised when applying for a mortgage. Without a good credit score, getting a mortgage can be a real struggle.”

Image courtesy of Jeff Djevdet

The government’s attempt to help more people out of private renting arrangements and into home ownership comes after Scottish Widows published a report that warned tomorrow’s pensioners will have to find huge amounts of money to pay ever-escalating rents to private landlords.

Scottish Widows projected one in eight retirees will be renting by 2032, which works out to three times the number renting today. It also said there is a £43bn gap between the income and savings people have now and what the rent bill will be in retirement.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dan Wilson Craw of campaign group Generation Rent said: “The common perception is that retirees either own their home outright or have a council tenancy, so the government will be in for a nasty shock as more of us retire and continue to rent from a private landlord.

“Many renters relying on pensions will qualify for housing benefit which will put greater strain on the public finances.”

The Rent Recognition Challenge will open to applications early in the New Year, and development will conclude in October 2018.