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Monday, June 1, 2015

share photos and links through [chirping] sound !!!

‘chirp’  [verb] -  (of a small bird or an insect) make a short, sharp, high-pitched sound. This is another  post for commoners (like me) – who struggle with their phone often wondering why there are so many unexplored fields ! ~ and not for techno-buffs.

 In 1990s the revolution in TV sets – was the remote control – before that people had to go walk a few steps to the  TV and change channel manually –  no trouble  at a time when you had DD1 and few hours of DD2.  The remote control uses  light waves just beyond the visible spectrum of light—infrared light waves—to change channels on  the TV as also in Airconditioners and other equipment.   From Nokia bricks, 3310 & 3315 –  to later day marvels that came with  camera – VGA one at that – no memory card slot,  internal memory of 15 MB ! –  life has moved on fast lane.

For transferring images / files from one mobile to another – it was ‘infrared’ technology.   Infrared (IR) is invisible radiant energy, electromagnetic radiation with longer wavelengths than those of visible light.  Infrared worked within a short distance only and the equipments had to be kept nearer without movement – once  in the direct "line of sight" – transfer could happen slowly.  It is no longer there in phones, replaced by Bluetooth – the wireless technology standard for exchanging data over short distances.   Then there are other messaging apps like WA, messengers and e-mails through which too data can be exchanged.

I had earlier posted on ‘NFC’ (near field communication), a technology that allows two devices to "talk" to each other wirelessly at close range.  In some phones, you can share photos / files from one phone to another by simply tapping the two together !  Windows Phone supports this type of wireless communication called NFC (near field communication) that lets you transfer files and other things quickly and wirelessly, at close range.  As long as your Windows Phone supports NFC, and the device you're sharing with does too, you can transfer photos, contacts, websites, and a lot more. You can even tap to wirelessly pair two devices, such as your phone and a set of speakers. 

A chirp, in technology parlance,  is a signal in which the frequency increases ('up-chirp') or decreases ('down-chirp') with time. In some sources, the term chirp is used interchangeably with sweep signal.  It is commonly used in sonar and radar, but has other applications, such as in spread spectrum communications.  The name is a reference to the chirping sound made by birds.

More specifically, Chirp is an ‘app’ that transmits data via a burst of "digital birdsong" aims to simplify the way users share images and other files between smartphones. So, now you can share photos and links using ‘sound’-  Chirp app lets you send and receive files ‘without Wi-Fi’ by 'singing' to other devices.  In the free Chirp apps, data in the files are turned into audio clips, which are in turn picked up and decoded by fellow Chirp users and converted into links to the original files.

Chirp was developed by London-based Asio Ltd and each chirp lasts about two seconds. The Chirp platform uses an audio protocol to encode a character sequence as a series of pitched tones. A network protocol then stores the data and assigns it a unique short code of ten characters. The audio protocol features an alphabet of 32 characters, each mapped to one of 32 pictures a semitone apart. To create a Chirp, open a file in the app and press the Chirp button. The file will be encoded and the sound played. This sound is then picked up and decoded by fellow Chirp users and converted into links to the original files.  Mobile data is needed to upload the Chirp to the app's server, but once it is received data and Wi-Fi can be turned off.

These links can point to a URL, photo, video, GIF, song, Word document and more, and the decoding happens in real-time on the phone. Apple offers a similar sharing tool, known as ‘AirDrop’, but Chirp works across iOS and Android, and the developers are working on a Windows version of the service.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th May 2015.

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