A guide to all the latest gadget and tech news. Click visits Los Angeles to look at the latest tech in the battle against gun crime. And find out which new games impressed at E3.
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Got a way of hearing gunfire in the most concealed of places?
I'm all ears.
This week on Click, we're listening out for the latest tech
being used in the battle against gun crime.
Tired of losing your friends at a festival?
We'll try out the app that could help you to stay in touch.
There's yet more E3 video games madness.
And we have the app that aims to keep you dry in Webscape.
Welcome to Click. I'm Spencer Kelly. And welcome back to Los Angeles.
Did you know that this is the US's second most populous city,
the first being New York?
And, like many large cities,
LA grapples with two very urban predicaments -
an understaffed police department and gun violence.
And, together, they create a lethal problem.
This isn't the first time that we've covered guns on Click.
Who can forget the world's first 3D-printed firearm,
which was made last year by the open source advocate
and crypto-anarchist, Cody Wilson?
And, just earlier this month,
we looked at some of the smart technology
that was hoping to create a safer type of weapon.
But, as we reported at the time, even the development of those guns
has caused a fair amount of controversy here in the US.
Firearms are a hot topic for debate -
a debate that occupies the very highest corridors of power.
It's not even possible to get even the mildest restrictions
through Congress and that's... We should be ashamed of that.
Of the thousands of illegal shootings across the country
each year, the majority are in metropolitan areas,
where it can be difficult for the police to respond quickly
and accurately to the sound of gunfire.
Especially because, again, like most cities,
there are plenty of places just off the beaten track
which are out of sight of the cops.
But LA has a bit of help on its side.
Something called gunshot detection technology.
Sumi Das has been looking at the sensors serving
as law enforcement's ears on the streets.
Shots ring out.
They're heard at this Northern California surveillance centre,
but were actually fired thousands of miles away, in Puerto Rico.
We pioneered the concept of using collaborative sensors
to be able listen to and detect impulsive noises, gunshots,
and be able to triangulate on the exact location
from where those gunshots have happened.
It's called ShotSpotter and it was developed by SST.
When a gun is fired outdoors in one of the 80 places
where ShotSpotter sensors are installed, an alert is triggered.
I guess I'm wondering how many times it might make a mistake,
how often the technology might mistake fireworks
or a car that's backfiring for a gunshot.
The computer's actually about 80% accurate.
that's why we put the human into the loop.
Acoustic experts at SST's Incident Review Centre
verify that the noises are indeed gunshots.
They further pinpoint the shooter's location,
then send that information to local authorities,
all in less than a minute.
If we can get police out there quicker,
perhaps when the perpetrators are still there,
or collect evidence quicker, get to victims quicker,
that will have long-term benefits for the overall crime rate.
The sensors, which SST couldn't show us for security reasons,
are mounted high on rooftops or utility poles to prevent tampering.
They use GPS to establish the exact time of gunfire.
That sound will arrive at each sensor at a different time.
We use that time difference to start drawing hyperbolas.
Where the hyperbolas intersect
is the solution of where our shooter is.
For law enforcement,
ShotSpotter offers an extra ear to the ground,
but that advantage is lost when a shooter enters a building,
so SST is piloting an indoor gunshot detection system, called SiteSecure,
to be used in places like airports and schools.
And because this is automated, they can initiate protocols.
For instance, if this were a school,
they could initiate a lockdown process.
But real-time information carries a cost.
Oakland, California, struggles with street violence,
yet it's considering scrapping its outdoor ShotSpotter system,
which runs 260,000 a year.
Privacy advocates are critical of ShotSpotter's constant monitoring.
We know that ShotSpotter can pick up conversations,
but I would like to know more about the capabilities of the equipment.
How exactly are the microphones activated?
Where is the data going? Who is reviewing it?
Still, some cities, like San Francisco,
are expanding ShotSpotter coverage.
Without ShotSpotter, we're dependent upon someone to call 911.
We would be responding to where that person called from,
not necessarily where the shots actually came from.
ShotSpotter data is also admissible in court
and has been used to obtain convictions.
Even with these benefits, though, the question remains -
can ShotSpotter make a difference,
as authorities take aim at the growing problem of gun violence?
Sumi Das with a fascinating way of keeping that place
just that little bit safer.
OK, there's more from Click in California in a couple of minutes,
after this week's Tech News.
The internet trade in images that show child sex abuse
is now an epidemic, according to
the head of the global initiative to combat the problem.
Police officers from around the world
serve on the Virtual Global Taskforce
and its chairman, Ian Quinn,
told the BBC there's been an explosion in cases
handled by US authorities,
with a raid by officers in Los Angeles alone
happening on average every other day.
Specialised internet tracking technology is now being
used by American officers to pinpoint those accessing
some child pornography sites in real-time.
Amazon is to go into the smartphone business next month
after revealing the Fire Phone.
The device promises to offer 3D visuals,
thanks to a number of face-tracking cameras on its front.
It's also pre-loaded with an app called Firefly,
which allows the phone to recognise text, images,
sounds and objects around it.
Amazon hopes the app will make it easier to buy said items from...
Yep, you guessed it - the Amazon store.
The phone has a similar price to the iPhone 5S and the Galaxy S5
and will go on sale in the US on the 25th of July.
The UK Government has revealed
why it's legally able to spy on British citizens
and their use of companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter.
The head of the UK intelligence service, GCHQ, said the firms,
as well as web-based e-mail,
were classified as external communications
because they're based abroad
and therefore didn't require specific warrants.
The policy, which has long been suspected,
was revealed as part of a legal battle
with campaign group Privacy International.
And, finally, what do you think your video games collection
might be worth?
Michael Thomasson has just sold his for 750,000,
but then he did have the world's largest.
The collection, 20 years in the making,
contains over 11,000 titles for 22 consoles.
Well, at least he's got a bit of space around the house now.
Now, if you're into the World Cup,
and apparently it IS possible to like football AND tech,
here's something that could broaden your perspective
on just how bonkers host nation Brazil goes over the tournament.
Every four years, Brazilian communities get together
and paint the town red...
green, yellow and blue.
In fact, entire streets get a make-over and, this year,
you can explore those designs using Google Street View.
This tradition in Brazil goes back 30 years ago,
when communities got together and they decorated,
they painted the streets with Brazil flag colours.
Do it for the games. This is street art made by soccer fans.
So it has a lot of passion, it's a lot of fun,
it's a community get-together.
See? It almost makes you feel like you're there.
All I need now is some vague understanding
of the rules of football.
If you've ever been to a massive event
and you've tried to call your mates somewhere else within the grounds,
you'll know that getting a signal can sometimes be nearly impossible,
due to all the phones overloading the system.
Well, perhaps no longer.
Apple recently introduced a networking technology
which some are saying could herald the second mobile revolution.
Here's Richard Taylor.
Festivals - a time to let loose and make new connections.
This tech-savvy crowd is at the cutting edge of communications
and yet, ironically, the term "contactless"
here refers more than cash payments.
Simply sending a text message to a friend across the park
can by nigh-on impossible,
as mobile cell towers get overloaded by the weight of partygoers.
Now, though, the sheer volume of people using smartphones
can itself bridge the problem it created.
Each handset would become a point in a mesh network,
a technology recently enabled in Apple's iOS7,
opening the door to an entirely new class of apps.
This is FireChat, a totally free Android and iOS messaging app
with a twist.
With FireChat, you can actually use it
when you're in places where normally you don't have internet access,
so it can be on the train, on an airplane,
at the stadium, for example.
Or indeed, anywhere else in what would otherwise be
a communications black hole.
We're getting more than two new users per second,
we have seen peaks of several hundred thousands
of installs per day.
So, how does FireChat work?
Well, in the absence of a connection to the outside world,
it takes advantage of two other technologies
commonly found in today's smartphones - Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Once they're on, you can send a message to anywhere within range
of about 100ft, so for example, to that shady-looking character there.
Now, I might, of course, be the intended recipient of the message,
but it doesn't matter if I'm not,
cos FireChat effectively turns my handset into a router,
allowing the message to be passed on through any number of users
further down the chain.
Eventually, it reaches me, at the end of this so-called mesh network.
No mobile phone signal or internet connection needed.
But if I do happen to have an internet connection,
well, through the magic of mesh, I can share it
with everyone else in the chain.
But it does mean FireChat needs a critical mass of users
if it's to be of any real use.
It's all-or-nothing, isn't it, for FireChat?
So we need massive scale
and we are on a good trend to meet massive scale
and we also made a lot of studies to figure out which would be
the minimum in urban areas, how many people we would need to reach.
And, in theory,
we need 7-8% penetration ratio in urban area
to enable you to be connected to someone else
more than 93% of the time.
Let me show you how it works.
Mesh networking itself, even on smartphones, isn't entirely new.
An Australian researcher has been working on a solution
for a few years, stressing its use in remote areas or disaster zones,
where connectivity has been severed,
but the tech can be put to other ends, too -
used, for example, by groups wanting to keep their communications
completely concealed from the prying eyes of the authorities.
FireChat say right now their app is aimed less at radicals
and more at revellers who'd find this decentralised network
more useful than the traditional social networks in evidence.
But if or when it becomes truly mainstream,
that's when both its full potential and pitfalls will emerge.
It's certainly an intriguing idea. The FireChat founder
telling Richard Taylor in all his various personae - and outfits -
why he thinks off-the-grid communications could be a winner
and when messages become encrypted -
that's when I think we'll be hearing just a bit more about this.
we brought you the big announcements from the E3 video games show
that was held here in LA and we looked in detail
at the virtual reality headsets
which are threatening to swallow your face
and project you into a fantasy world.
This week, we're going to take a closer look at the big new games
that were announced at the show, now we've finally found
Mark Cieslak again and confiscated his games console.
New games. Loads of them.
For new consoles, of which there aren't loads, just two.
The success of this console generation
rests on the simulated shoulders of the games on show
inside the cavernous halls of the LA Convention Centre.
So, two relatively new consoles - the Xbox One and PS4 -
with a lot to prove.
It's fortunate then that this year's E3 is a vintage one,
in terms of games which have the potential
to exploit the promised power of the next generation.
Here's the situation.
A contaminated energy drink has turned everyone into mutants.
The Day-Glo comic strip stylings
and free-running inspired gameplay of third-person shooter Sunset Overdrive
are the tip of the unusual iceberg that is Xbox One exclusive.
The player must make use of increasingly weird weapons,
chaining moves to perform ever-more devastating attacks.
There's more third-person combat on offer in Tom Clancy's The Division.
Special forces types operate in a post-plague-ridden New York City.
Smart tactics and stealth are rewarded over shoot first,
ask - "Doesn't this environment feel a bit inspired by I Am Legend?" -
Dude, check out Manhattan.
All of this delivered
to a go-anywhere, persistent online open world.
Not every game on show involved guns and ammo, though.
Sony showcased the mesmerising
and seemingly serene underwater adventure Abzu.
As well as Entwined,
a colourful slice of Playstation-exclusive psychedelia,
designed by a team of students from the Carnegie Mellon University,
who were later recruited by Sony.
A multiplayer title with elements of a rhythm game,
involving uniting a bird and a fish,
as they fly through a variety of shapes and patterns.
That'll be normal, then(!)
With virtual reality headsets in the works from Sony and Oculus Rift,
games developers seem keen to get to grips with the technology.
The Assembly is a VR puzzler,
set in a mysterious underground testing facility.
The player must use the objects they find around them
to escape further tortuous testing.
Yes! The door's opened!
It isn't all brand-new fresh ideas on show, though. Perish the thought.
Franchise, fan favourites - or flogged horses if you prefer -
are in plentiful supply here at E3 2014.
Shoot things up a mountain in Ubisoft's Far Cry 4.
Shoot more things in Electronic Arts' new Battlefield Hardline,
in which the series receives a cops and robbers multiplayer make-over,
with online teams adopting the role of lawbreaker or law enforcer.
You have the right to remain silent!
The biggest shooting-things franchise of them all
is, of course, Activision's Call Of Duty, or CoD to its friends.
Set in the near future,
this year's instalment is called Advanced Warfare.
It's had a futuristic face-lift, now featuring exosuits,
which allow the player to jump tall buildings in a single bound,
as well as a villainous turn from Kevin Spacey.
And that's where I come in.
Its sci-fi stylings are clearly an attempt to keep the series fresh,
but can CoD maintain its successful streak?
I think we got a lot of the same questions
when the franchise moved from World War II to modern.
People thought of it at that time as a World War II franchise.
And then the shift to modern opened up all kinds of new possibilities,
new interactions, new weapons, new capabilities,
and the move to the near future has done the same thing.
So lots of familiar franchises filling the show floors,
but E3 2014 still offered plenty of new
and, in some cases, different gaming experiences.
Ask anyone why they live in LA and they're bound to say the weather.
Turned out nice again.
But I'm soon going to be heading back to a very British summer
where anything can happen, as long as it starts with rain.
Well, Kate Russell's found an app which is the perfect accompaniment,
because it warns you when there's a shower on the way.
Here comes Webscape.
With the picnic season in full swing,
the one thing that is bound to spoil a day out is an unexpected downpour,
drenching you and your cheese and pickle sandwiches.
Rain Alarm is a browser-based tool that will warn you
if there's bad weather heading your way, like rain or snow.
# Why does it always rain on me? #
The data comes from government weather services
and is updated every 30 minutes.
You'll need to check under the help button
to see if the country you want to check out is covered
but, if it is, you should never get caught in a sudden downpour again.
You can also run it through a Chrome or Firefox browser extension
and there are apps for Android, iPhone and Windows Phone
that will ping you an alert when rain is headed your way.
# When I met you in the summer... #
One place we hope there won't be any rain is Wimbledon.
If you can't make it there yourself,
join 20 million other fans on the revamped website and smartphone apps,
with live video to many regions, lots of analysis, predictions and
social tools to bring the whole world together, cheering on the athletes.
# When I met you in the summer... #
The waiting is over!
# When on foreign shores... #
History buffs will love the gorgeous interactive content
in Roman Ruins HD, which is only available on iPad for £6.99.
It lets you wander around some the most awe-inspiring historic sites
from the Roman Empire without leaving your front room.
# Baby, when in Rome, I do as the Romans do. #
This app might seem quite expensive,
but when you start exploring the 1,500-plus high-definition photos
with expert narration, 3D aerial views,
and oodles more fantastic content, it's not hard to see why the
tablet computer is becoming the new coffee table tome in so many homes.
Another fine example in this genre is Interaction Of Colour,
also for the iPad.
This is the digital interpretation of Josef Albers'
famous masterwork of colour experimentation,
which is seen by many as an essential handbook for artists and educators.
There is a free sampler of chapter ten.
If you like what you see, you can
upgrade to the full version through an in-app purchase of £10.
# It's such a shame our friendship had to end... #
Kate Russell's Webscape and, if you missed those links,
they are available, of course, at our website.
If you'd like to suggest an app or a site for Webscape,
you're more than welcome. We are at...
Just before we go, we thought we might enjoy this.
Now, if you're into your running, skateboarding or motocross,
I'm sure you've fancied videoing yourself as you break
the sound barrier, defy gravity or, in my case, just stay upright.
Well, a drone would be the ideal thing to use.
And certainly, drone selfies, or dronies, are becoming more popular.
Except for the fact that piloting one
whilst you yourself are airborne isn't really that possible.
Well, look out because here comes Hexoplus,
the drone that flies itself.
Just choose the subject and Hexoplus will keep them in shot
and follow them as they move,
sometimes flying at speeds of up to 70kph to keep up with them.
Although at the moment, it does only have 15 minutes of battery life,
so I obviously couldn't take on my morning marathon around LA.
Anyway, the project is currently in Kickstarter mode
and it's already raised over six times its 50,000 goal
and, if it does live up to its promise,
we could certainly see some very high-action dronies in the future.
I'm afraid that really is it, though, from California.
Thank you for watching and we'll see you next time.