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.

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC