Chirp Wants To Transmit Data Via Sound On Android Devices

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Chirp is a nifty app that converts files such as photos, notes or links into sound, and broadcasts it so that other devices with Chirp can ‘hear’ the data. It’s been available on iOS for a year and now has finally come to Android.

When you want to send a photo from one phone to another, why should you need cables, go through the grueling process of pairing phones via Bluetooth, set up Wi-Fi connections, or require a handset that has NFC? There are many ways to transfer data wirelessly, but it needs to be easier. Phones have one simple thing in common: the ability to make sound and to hear sound. And Chirp wants to use that to transmit data.

In a nutshell, digital files are turned into digital audio and the app then lets out a chirping sound. If another device has the Chirp app active, it will listen to the sound and decode the digital data. That’s the TL;DR version of the technical explanation of how Chirp works.

Each chirp lasts only about two seconds. It’s super efficient and fast — much more so than Bluetooth — and doesn’t require any special hardware. The only requirement is that your device must have a dual-core processor.

All the data you send and receive on Chirp is stored in the app’s history, making it easy for you to access it. The app works with the tap of a single, large yellow button.

What about other sound in the background? “The world is a noisy place. Chirp is designed to cope with traffic sound, music, speech, TVs blaring in the background, and so on,” the team from Animal Systems says on its FAQ page. “Roughly speaking, if you can hear it, the app can hear it.”

You can grab the new Chirp from the Play Store and the iPhone version of Chirp is still around on the App Store.

Source: Chirp blog

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Comments (15)
  • Bob

    Caleb, Thank you for redirecting me. I missed the point completely.

  • Bob

    For those of you who are not familiar with English language tounge twisters, I was asking: How much data per transmitted Chirp? At about 2 seconds per Chirp with 10 characters of 5 bits per Chirp, it seems to be 25 b/s. Not very fast. What am I missing?

    • Caleb

      You’re missing: the app only shares a link to the file being transferred, and does not actually engage in the file transfer process.

  • Bob

    How much data would an Android chirp
    If an Android would chirp data?

  • Joseph Z

    Ok somebody needs to come up with an app that would associate an audio file with a URL.
    Then when someone uses the app to listen to that audio file, they get the link.

  • Jared

    Chirp doesn’t actually encode the file to audio- It just shares a link.
    From their page:
    “How does it work?
    You can think of a chirp as a tiny piece of music. Each chirp lasts about two seconds. 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.”

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.