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The Panopticon Shot Bar: SceneTap Uses Cameras to Survey Nightlife

Smartphone app SceneTap uses cameras and facial recognition software to assess the male-to-female ratio in Austin nightclubs.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/mrjoro
Smartphone app SceneTap uses cameras and facial recognition software to assess the male-to-female ratio in Austin nightclubs.

So this is the way we live now: a new mobile application is coming to Austin that rates bars. But instead of relying on user-submitted data like Yelp, it has a network of cameras in participating nightclubs feeding real time information on a club’s capacity and demographics.

That’s the idea behind SceneTap, launching across several Austin bars this Friday.Founders Cole Harper and Marc Doering have partnered with several watering holes – admittedly fratty establishments like Cain and Abel’s, The Chuggin’ Monkey, The Dizzy Rooster and others – who have agreed to host the SceneTap cameras. Via “anonymous facial recognition software,” it feeds data to the app in real time: crowd size, average ages, a male-to-female ratio, and drink specials. SceneTap recently relocated to Austin from Chicago, where they have a presence in over 50 bars.

Launch parties are being held at several participating establishments this Friday. Whether you want to show up in CV Dazzle makeup is up to you.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.