New iPhone app works by bump, not touch

April 8, 2009 By Eric Benderoff

It is somehow fitting that University of Chicago business school students would develop an iPhone app that works by bump, not touch, on Apple's famed screen. After all, it was a former U of C professor, President Barack Obama, and his wife, Michelle, who helped to popularize the fist bump.

The new app, called "Bump," transfers data from one iPhone to another (or an ) simply by bumping each other. While one person holds an iPhone, he "bumps" hands with another user holding her iPhone. Then detailed contact information or just select data, such as a phone number, is shared.

The company says information is exchanged in less than 10 seconds. Take a look at how it works:

I bumped an iPhone with an iPod Touch and contact information was transferred between the devices well within 10 seconds, more like 5. Both gadgets asked for confirmation before the information could be downloaded. Very simple, very impressive and very cool.

Both users need to have the free Bump app on their iPhones to work. Users fill out a Bump contact card for sharing. When a bump occurs, your data transfers to the other user's address book, and vice versa.

The program recently launched on Apple's App Store.

David Lieb and Jake Mintz, first year students at the U of C's Booth School of Business, along with friend Andy Huibers in California, started a company last fall to develop products based on the technology. All three are former Texas Instruments employees.

The self-funded company is named, not surprisingly, Bump Technologies.

In an e-mail, Lieb explained how the technology works: "It monitors the accelerometers in the two phones and a smart matching algorithm running in the cloud is able to match up any two phones in the world that bump each other."

If President Obama wasn't a BlackBerry fan, he would surely like this app.



See the app in action here:

More information:


(c) 2009, Chicago Tribune.
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Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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