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Published on Jul 25, 2012
You've heard of tweeting. Patrick Bergel hopes you'll hear much more chirping in the future. His company Animal Systems has just released an app for the iPhone called Chirp which allows people to send pictures through short bursts of sound.
Patrick Bergel, Animal Systems CEO and Founder saying "The more you can make technology feel like it's part of the intuitively understood world, the naturally comprehended world, the more that people will want to use it and make it part of their lives." Animal Systems is a spin out of the computer science department at University College London. Both UCL Business and the innovations fund at Imperial College are investors. Daniel Jones was the lead developer on the app. Daniel Jones, Chirp Developer "Probably the biggest challenge was making sure we had a system that would work equally well in environments that are particularly noisy, so in a pub or on a bus. We're very keen for Chirp to work in all kinds of real world places." Jones says Chirp has been developed as an alternative to Bluetooth technology. One of the advantages, he says, is that once Chirp is installed on a device, there's no need to pair it with other devices before sending data. Daniel Jones, Chirp Developer "So how about I Chirp a picture of you? So we hit plus and then take a picture. So there we have a picture of you and all I need to do is hit this yellow button." "And there I am." Daniel Jones, Chirp Developer "So what just happened there was that that picture was uploaded to the cloud system we've developed and encoded as a tiny little piece of audio which then represents that picture uniquely." Right now, the app is only available for the iPhone and iPad but an Android app is in the works. Animal Systems say ultimately data can be sent from anything that makes a sound, including radio, TV and PA systems. Patrick Bergel, Animal Systems CEO and Founder "We've got some fairly big goals. We really would like Chirp to become a form of ubiquitous sonic middleware that's installed on many kinds of devices and is just one of the sharing options. We see Chirp as a viable part of the mix for the so-called Internet of Things, where the ubiquitous where lots of kind of devices are connected in lots of different ways." So while Chirp is currently an app, the hope is to eventually turn it into a platform, with a vibrant ecoystem of sounds and machines capable of decoding what those chirps mean.