Tag Archives: busker

Brother, can you spare a swipe? Contactless card reading guitar unveiled

Tyler Metzger

Have you ever had the strong urge to give your hard-earned money to someone strumming “Dust in the Wind” out of key at a vacant intersection? Well, neither have I. But London-based issuer Barclays hopes our apprehension will disappear with its new approach to street charity: a wireless, touchless, credit card accepting guitar.

The financial institution unveiled the instrument Thursday, Aug. 26, in London during a publicity stunt promoting its “contactless technology.” People passing by a street musician — known as a “busker” in the UK — were handed prepaid cards loaded with £5 and were instructed to wave it near the head of the guitar. The money was then taken off the card and donated to the Help a London Child charity.

Contactless cards aren’t exclusive to Barclays’s, but they all work the same: By using radio-frequency identification, or RFID. The card data is stored in a chip inside the plastic and is transmitted using short-range electromagnetic waves emitted by the contactless-card reader. Tollbooths, garage door openers and workplace ID fobs are a few devices that use RFID technology today.

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