An app that transmits data via a burst of “digital birdsong” 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.
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.
“We are pretty sure this is unique,” the firm’s chief executive Patrick Bergel told the BBC.