Feeds

Crafty app lets phones send data by ultrasound with speakers, mics

Could be used as pay-by-screech. Or to annoy kids

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Vid A Singapore firm is punting ultrasonic sound as an alternative to NFC for short-range wireless communications, pointing out that it works with existing hardware and provides a demo app to prove it.

The software, which is on Google Play and iTunes (search for SSCconnect) in both free and ad-supported versions, allows devices to exchange contact details, URLs, and clipboard contents at the breakneck speed of 275 bytes per second. The company has aspirations beyond trivial data transfers as it sees ultrasonics being a useful alternative to radio-based Near Field Communications technology.

Here's a video of the code in action:

It's not the first time sound has been used to carry data between devices: the Psion Series 3 had a program that did much the same thing though in the audible range and with even slower data rates. System Design, the company responsible for the new attempt, uses sound in the 17KHz to 20KHz region - typically too high a pitch for all but the youngest of ears.

We know that because it's exactly the pitch used by Compound Security for their teenager-bothering annoying sound system Mosquito, which is designed to irritate "da yoof" while remaining inaudible to the rest of us.

The Psion app was audible to humans, and little more than a novelty, but these days NFC fans are frantically telling us that short-range slow-rate wireless communication is the answer to all sorts of questions we've not yet asked, principally the one about how we pay for things with a bonk of the mobile phone.

System Design's solution won't do everything NFC can do: it's not going to read the passive tags that are supposed to replace bar codes any day now, but it could do payments. Sadly the reason it will disappear without trace isn't technical, but because the momentum behind NFC is pretty much unstoppable and NFC can do everything ultrasound can do.

So it will almost certainly remain an interesting novelty, just like its Psion-based predecessor, which is good news for teenagers and others with exceptional hearing. ®

Thanks to Reg reader Nick May for spotting the financial aspirations of System Design, which our foreign desk's poor grasp of Japanese had led us to miss.

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.