Chirp Wants To Transmit Data Via Sound On Android Devices

Mihir Patkar 15-09-2013

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 Sharable: Transfer Files Between Android & iOS Devices (also between Windows & Mac Computers) Read More , 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 What Is NFC & Should You Buy a Phone That Has It? [MakeUseOf Explains] If you’re in the market for a new phone in 2013, you’re probably going to hear about something called NFC, and how it’s apparently changing the world. Don’t be fooled by the sales talk though.... Read More . 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.”


Source: Chirp blog

Related topics: File Sharing, FTP.

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  1. Bob
    October 1, 2013 at 11:33 pm

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

  2. Bob
    September 16, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    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
      October 1, 2013 at 10:55 pm

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

  3. Bob
    September 16, 2013 at 8:39 pm

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

  4. Joseph Z
    September 16, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    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.

  5. Jared
    September 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    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."

  6. Chris
    September 16, 2013 at 4:15 am

    This is BS. How long did your 56.6 analog modem (based on sound) take to download a crappy 500kB pic? Probably 2 minutes rather than 2 secs, without any background noise which would simply make the exercise impossible. This can't be true.

  7. Kendall S
    September 15, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    great app, big up to the makes of the app

  8. Pete Newton
    September 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    This is the first time I have seen Chirp used in a music video - seems it can be embedded with background noise and still work

  9. jeff
    September 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    This prigram does not convert anything. And is usless without Internet. It makes up a sound for the image using the same sound to get it online after the image was uploaded. Bluetooty works without internet and is still more viable. This is fake publicity. There is no conversion whatsoever. And I thought it was data through sound. Baaah

  10. Thu Y
    September 15, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    How do i know my phone has dual-core processor? I can't find the information in cpu-z app.

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Could you tell me which phone you're using? I could perhaps look it up for you :)

    • Thu Y
      September 16, 2013 at 5:06 am

      Huawei C8812

  11. david
    September 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    It sound like an old tech that has been reborn. The commodore 64 and 128 back in the 80's used casstee players to transmit date over the air, or radio, to upload programs. It took forever. But it did work

    • Mihir Patkar
      September 15, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Still quite cool though, right? I would especially like to see an app like this on feature phones, since that can bridge the Bluetooth barrier. But the dual-core processor requirements of Chirp seem to make that a little difficult :)