BIRDS AREN’T THE only ones making sweet sounds – not since the introduction of Chirp, a new way to send information between smartphones.
Chirp enables information to be shared using sound, with iPhones ‘singing’ information to each other.
RTÉ radio show Morning Ireland played the first terrestrial radio broadcast of a Chirp this week, transmitting a photograph and a link to its website.
The company that designed Chirp is Animal Systems from University College London. The company’s CEO, Patrick Bergel, spoke to Morning Ireland and said that Chirp “is a way to share information from your phone to other phones around you that are using the application”.
To use, you must download the application from an app store – and sorry Android users, but so far it is just available for iPhones and iPads.
Bergel said the company believes the app could be used to transmit a voucher or coupon, in gaming, and could even be potentially used to Chirp money.
“People seem to really like the idea,” said Bergel. The app is currently number one in the app charts.
Here are the technicalities of how chirping works:
The system listens out for a couple of dozen notes played rapidly in a certain order, within a certain range, at a certain speed. The audio engine tries to decode the sequence of notes into a sequence of letters which our server understands. The server then returns a link to the user so they can go wherever the short code points: to a webpage, say. This decode all happens in realtime on your phone. Here’s a brief technical introduction
It’s not just a phone that can be used to transmit a chirp – a radio, record or TV could even be used. Once phones can hear the sound, the information can be shared.
It is free to download the app, but in the future the company aims to take a cut of downloads that occur after information is passed on through Chirp.
They also have even bigger plans, according to their website:
We want to enable anything that carries sound to carry data. That means: doorbells, saxophones, ATMs, car horns, barbershop choirs, and so on.