Chirp: An App That Uses A Song To Share Pics
From Co.design/Cliff Kuang
Forget Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Chirp uses speakers and microphones to share photos and other information.
We still haven’t discovered the perfect way to share information between devices--one that’s ubiquitous and natural. Bump had an interesting interaction approach. Dropbox is powerful but digital. If I want to just send a photo from my phone to your computer, why do I need to get intermediaries like email or USB cords involved to get the job done?
Chirp is a new iPhone app by Animal Systems that’s tackling file sharing in a surprisingly low-tech way. When you want to share, say, a photo, your phone emits a song. Another phone hears the song, and it loads the picture. It’s sort of like file sharing as imagined by The Hunger Games’ mockingjays.
“We’re called Animal Systems because, well, we look to nature for inspiration,” explains CEO Patrick Bergel. “Specifically, we’ve been looking at how biology encodes information, in this case, and playing around with various related ideas, all with mobile as the starting point. Chirp was the best idea, so we went with that.”
Sending information via audio blips is traditionally slow (just think about fax machines and modems). Technically, any chirp is comprised of 20 different tones, which actually encode 50 bits of information--just enough for a bit of text, like 10 characters of text--that links the receiver up to a specific URL/file stored in the cloud by the sender. In essence, a chirp is a QR code you can hear and record rather than awkwardly photograph.