Demystifying Technology with

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Written by

Kevin Elgan

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We built Chatterbox so kids can experience how technology works — with as many senses as possible. 

After using their hands and eyes to assemble the box and electronics, they use their ears to listen to Chatterbox connecting to WiFi. 

Wait, what? 

Chatterbox uses a wonderful technology called Chirp to enable kids to privately, securely, easily and audibly tell Chatterbox what the right WiFi network is, and what the password to that network is, so Chatterbox can connect to the internet. 

As part of our simple online setup process, kids type in the name of the WiFi network, then click a button. The web page then makes a bird “chirping” sound, courtesy of the Chirp technology and in that sound contains all the information Chatterbox needs to know the WiFi network from then on. Kids then enter the password, and a second chirping sound tells Chatterbox the right password. 

Normally, communication between devices is invisible, imperceptible. Chirp enables kids to experience the transfer of data from the computer to Chatterbox, giving them an intuitive sense of how data is transmitted. 

We also use Chirp to empower kids to create and share skills with one another. We truly believe that learning and education is most effective when shared with others, and Chirp is a simple and intuitive way for kids to accomplish this. Teachers love being able to share a basic “skeleton” skill for students to customize as part of a classwork assignment.

Chirp uses robust, proprietary and patented algorithms that can convey data via sound, even in noisy places — like classrooms. It’s like an “sonic barcode.” And speaking of classrooms: Because the transmission happens via sound, an entire classroom full of Chatterboxes can get the WiFi and passwords at the same time.

Chirp, which is mature technology that’s been around for a decade, has recently been acquired by audio leader Sonos. We can’t wait to find out what Sonos does with Chirp!

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