Using sound to speak to computers is nothing new. There’s a fascinating story–back in the days when the Commodore computer accessed data by cassette player–about a radio show host for the Finnish Broadcasting Company who used to play code over the air. That way, listeners were able to record the code on their own cassette players and use it on their computers. The first file sharing had begun.
But the internet of sound is farther reaching and has far greater implications, especially in the area of security. One 2012 startup, Chirp, has already created a mechanism by which files and data are transferred to nearby users using a short burst of sound as the passcode, hence the name Chirp. The data itself is actually sent to the cloud, then retrieved after the recipient gains access through the sound. It’s much like a cloud-based version of the children’s game Marco Polo, in which the sender can verify the person and his supposed location by sound. But experts are already looking to the possibilities for preventing hacking and data breaches by transmitting more sensitive content without having to be in the vicinity.
Unfortunately, hackers didn’t get to be good at what they do by being stupid. A team of computer scientists has already figured out how to send malware as sound, meaning it can be transmitted from one computer’s speakers and picked up by other computers’ microphones. This isn’t the only drawback, of course. There are environmental and wildlife considerations to be mindful of where an overload of sonic activity is concerned, and data that is being transmitted as sound waves is still notoriously slow.
Interestingly, NASA has made a breakthrough in converting electromagnetic waves into sound, and the result was an inspiring video of the “music” that different planets and moons give off, which can be found HERE. That same technology might have applications in transferring and moving larger amounts of data via encrypted waves.