MIT Students Develop Way to Move Files Across iDevices With a Swipe

Have you ever “bumped” contact information from your device to a friend’s? How many times have you wanted to share a picture with your mom, but had to send it through SMS or email? What about giving your boss that report he needed, but forgot to download to his iPad before the two of you headed off to an important meeting?

Wouldn’t it be easier to just “flick” files from your iPad to someone else’s instead of going through the various steps needed to get them from one device to another. A couple of MIT students have made that concept a reality with Swyp.

Co.Design recently discovered that MIT PhD student Natan Linder and undergraduate researcher Alexander List developed an open-source software program called Swype, that lets users exchange data using physical swipe gestures. From the developers’ website, “Swype is a framework for transferring any file from any app to any app on any device: simply with a swyp.”

This beta technology is not a jailbreak for your iOS device. It uses your devices’ location recognition in collaboration with account details via sites like Facebook or Gmail and combines that information with real-time swipe gesturing. The sender of a file uses a “swipe out” gesture to move a document from his device, which registers as a service on available networks. The receiver’s device begins connecting to discovered services as the gesture is “swiped in” and the file is moved. With the “negotiated ad-hoc connection between devices,” the file is transferred.

This amazing new program is still in its infancy stages. According to developer Ishac Bertran, after swiping to create a connection between the devices, the positions can’t be moved or they will lose their spatial link. Additionally, although the open-source technology does exist, it is not yet available as a downloadable iOS app. Developers would also need to make their own apps Swyp enabled to send files from within them.

Linder hopes that others will join the bandwagon and work with the student-based Fluid Interface Group at MIT’s Media Lab. “Our hope is that developers would jump in and contribute to the open-source project, make it better and that app makers will incorporate it into their apps making them Swÿp enabled,’” Linder says.

If this technology does fully develop, we could have the ability to swipe photos from our desktop iPhoto application to our iPad without having to link the two through file sharing. Or, drag a newly written song from one mobile device to another to share between band mates. The drag-and-drop possibilities are endless.

Check out the video below to see Swyp in action, and see how convenient it could make our lives if it becomes a full-fledged program that app developers incorporate into their coding. If you can’t see the video below, click here for a direct link to the clip on Vimeo.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik