Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Chirp to share

Back in old days, if one had to transfer data between devices, it used to be difficult for mainly two reasons, one that it was wired and two that there were not many wireless protocols existing to transfer data between devices easily. Today numerous wireless data transmission techniques have made it possible to transfer data across devices easy. This though makes data transfer easier, it may lead to health problems as most of the existing wireless data transmission techniques use radio waves, microwaves or any other form of the electromagnetic spectrum. Health conscious people have contributed to the invention of safer and faster methods of data transfer. One such method of transmission is sound!

Use of audio to transfer data is not a new one. Animals and some insects use different sounds to communicate with each other. We are no different from them. We have been using sound for communication with others for a long time, though with lot of modification and complexity than animals. Toys like Furbys communicate with other Furbys or with their app using an audio protocol over the inaudible range.

If you want to experience the feel of the audio protocol, Chirp is an app for you. It is available for android and ios users. It enables you to share photos, notes, links and even youtube videos with other devices using just sound. The sound emitted by this is app is audible, as opposed to the audio protocol used by Furbys which is inaudible, and sounds kind of a chirp from a robotic bird. One must remember that to chirp your data to some other device, it is necessary for both the devices to have chirp installed in them.

Chirp is a great app that allows you to share data between two or more devices. Each chirp is around 2 seconds long. Hence data to be shared takes just 2 seconds, which is pretty fast. Imagine chirps on radios and televisions that might directly take you to that advertisers' websites. Chirp is optimized to listen out for a couple of dozen notes played rapidly in a certain order, within a certain range, at a certain speed and hence it can even work in noisy environments. Though chirp seems to be a great app, it has some drawbacks as well as no tech is without any drawback!

Chirp is not for people who love privacy as anyone within the range of the transmitted sound, having chirp on his/her device, can get hold of your data. Chirp also requires the device to be connected to the internet to be able to send or receive data. This is because chirp actually does not transmit or receive the data. When you add something to be shared, it is uploaded to chirp's server and is given a unique address. This address is then converted into a code that is chirped. When you receive a chirp, the app decodes it back into the address and uses it to access the data from the server. So this app might not be a substitute for bluetooth or nfc, but it is worth a shot.