Topics: Athletics, Emerging Media, College of Communication Information and Media

November 14, 2008

Digital Corps students have developed a new application for Ball State fans that allows their iPhones and iPods to chirp.

A group of Ball State University technology students has developed an electronic "chirp" for their iPods and iPhones to show school spirit and support the university's nationally ranked Cardinals football team.

The team of professional and student media software experts created the Chirper — software replicating the call of (according to alumnus David Letterman) "the world's "fiercest robin-sized bird"— so that Ball State fans can take their "chirps" anywhere. 

"We were motivated by the tremendous success of our 2008 football team to make something that would be fun for fans to use," says Jonathan Huer, director of Ball State's Digital Corps. "Development for the iPhone is a really exciting area that fits well into Ball State's strengths in emerging media and emerging technologies."

The free application is available through the Apple iTunes store. In the first few weeks it was available, the Chirper was downloaded about 2,500 times in dozens of countries, including the U.S., Canada, Croatia, New Zealand, and Australia, Huer reports.

By holding an iPod or iPhone in the air and shaking it, users generate the chirping sound. The application also activates the graphic display of each device, projecting the team's logo in alternating hues of school colors cardinal and white.
The student team, led by telecommunications major Jacob Barnard, came up with the idea for the Chirper last summer while attending a conference sponsored by Apple.
"We hope students will enjoy the app, and maybe it will help out on a third down a few times," Huer says. "Our future applications will be quite a bit more complicated, and we've got a few other features we want to add to the next version of this one."

The Digital Corps was formed in 2006 as a result of a second $20 million Lilly Endowment award given to Ball State and its Center for Media Design  for enhancement of Ball State's Digital Exchange initiative.
Digital Corps teaches media software training to students and professionals in Apple's Final Cut Studio and the Adobe Creative Suite. In order to keep their technical knowledge sharp and up-to-date, Digital Corps members also contribute their creative skills and media software expertise to a variety of projects for the university and outside clients. These projects include Web sites, videos, widgets and digital billboards.

Huer and his students will soon unveil more applications, including a Web tool that tracks public transportation — such as buses — by using any browser or mobile device.

"The advantage of the Digital Corps is that since most members are students, they can work on things that they know will be helpful to their age group," he said. "We often just sit around and think of problems we might be able to solve."