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Chirp App

Chirp App is an app that transmits data via a burst of "digital birdsong".It aims to simplify the way users share images and other files between smartphones.

Chirp plays a two-second long noise that sounds as if it was made by a robotic bird. When heard by other devices it triggers a download.

The software was developed by Animal Systems, a spin-off business from University College London (UCL).

It is free to use, but companies will be charged a fee for add-on services.

At the moment users are limited to sending pictures, website links or 140-character text messages. These appear in a feed similar to Facebook's timeline.A feed of messaged material appears beneath a visualised sound-wave. 

Other applications such as Android Beam, Bump, Datasync and Dropbox allow users to swap material via bluetooth, wi-fi or links to cloud-based storage.

But Chirp has the advantage that it can quickly send data to multiple devices at once without them needing to be either paired or have a wireless connection.

If recipients are offline their devices will remember the "chirp" and download associated content later.
Chirp App
Chirp App

It can also work over public address systems or radio transmissions - potentially allowing broadcasters a way to send up-to-date pictures or links to background information; or an advertiser to send coupons or snippets of a song or promotional video.

Animal Systems subscribes to a "blacklist" service to prevent users transmitting known pornographic or illegal-content website links. However, it does not plan to moderate other material.

The application works by uploading a user's material to the firm's servers. The data is then identified with a 50-bit address space: one of trillions of available identifiers.

This location is then sent to the sender's device. When the user presses a button in the app it plays an audio-encoded version of the address.

For now Chirp is only available as an iPhone app. An Android version is promised "soon".

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