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New ‘Chirp’ app sends files via ‘digital birdsong’

A new app has been launched that sends smartphone data to other devices through an audio chirp.

“Chirp is a magical new way to share your stuff – using sound,” reads the product description in the App Store, where it can be downloaded for free. “Chirp 'sings' information from one iPhone to another. Share photos, links, notes and more: all from your built-in iPhone speaker.”

The app has been developed by Animal Systems, a spin-off business from University College London. Chirp sends files through a two-second long noise resembling the twittering of a robotic bird, allowing other devices to track the sound and instantly download the file being sent.

Data can be transmitted to multiple recipients at once, while offline devices will remember the chirp and download its content once re-connected. Part of Chirp’s appeal is its novelty value, but its makers see mileage in the app.

"We are pretty sure this is unique," Animal Systems’ chief executive Patrick Bergel told the BBC. "We solve the problem of having to pair devices to move data. It's fairly novel to be able to transmit information to anyone who is in earshot - a large number of devices can share the same information at the same time using sound.

"You can also use it as a device shifting mechanism. In the future you will be able chirp yourself a link to a map from your laptop."

The chirp is apparently robust enough to cut through noisy surroundings to reach the receiver, and its ambitious creators hope to one day see manufacturers have Chirp pre-installed on their handsets. iOS users can already download the app and an Android version is promised soon.

Increasing Chirp's potential, is its ability to work over public address systems and radio transmissions, enabling broadcasters and companies to instantly send extra information, coupons and promotional material to their audience. Animal Systems is thus planning to tempt marketers and businesses with a premium service, according to the BBC.

Watch the video below to see the app in action over the radio.