Introducing Loop&Learn!

After 5 months ‘ad hoc’ development and a short but anxious 6  day wait in the Apple submission queue we have finally launched our ‘Social Learning’ App for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch: Loop&Learn.

Loop&Learn is more than just ‘my best ever iPhone App’, it is my best ever app… desktop, web, mobile or otherwise. It is both technically and content-wise the coolest software I’ve been lucky enough to develop.

Learn Chinese Phrasesloop-study-birds
Whether you want to learn Chinese or are an avid bird watcher,  there’s a loop for that 🙂

Here’s my business partner, Neil Gerstenberg, presenting our app on YouTube:

As Neil describes in the video, Loop&Learn is a tool to help you learn ANYTHING! Right on your iPhone you can create multimedia ‘Learning Loops’ consisting of recorded audio phrases, images and text. On iPhone and iPad the audio recording works directly from the device microphone. On iPod Touch you’ll need a compatible microphone earphones for authoring but all of the study and learning loop playback is compatible without any extra hardware.


We’ve designed the authoring process to be as intuitive as possible with features such as:

  • body text is auto split into loop phrases based on line/paragraph breaks – so you can easily import large learning texts into the app
  • auto-record in the phrase editing screen detects silences and enables you to split up your multiple audio phrases without continuously clicking a record button
  • the full current paragraph text is instantly displayed when recording each phrase
  • while editing body text the app enables users to play the existing audio phrase associated with the current text cursor position

Loop&Learn AuthoringBody Text Editor
New/Edit Loop Home Screen and Body Text Editor

Loop&Learn AuthoringLoop&Learn Authoring
Phrase Record and Edit


Likewise, in study mode here are just a few handy learning features offered by our app:

  • multi-gesture control: double tap to start/stop playback, swipe left and right for next/prev phrases, swipe down and up for next/prev looping groups
  • single or multi-select the loop blocks at the top of the screen to split your learning into looping bite-size chunks
  • 2 learning modes: ‘Repeat with me’ and ‘Listen’n’Repeat’ – the latter plays the full loop group and then repeats silently giving you the chance to repeat aloud


Saving the best for last, my favourite feature of Loop&Learn is the new collaborative learning concept it introduces: ‘social learning’.

Users of our app can share the learning loops they create via our ‘Loop Library’. All that’s required is an account with Twitter.  Once a user shares one or more of their learning loops they retain ownership of the loop and can change and update it at any time via the same share and update process.

Loop Libraryshare-on-twitter

Think of the amazing possibilities that social learning offers. Language learning for example: User A is French and wants to learn English, User B is English and wants to learn French. If User A and User B create and share language loops in their native tongues then they both will benefit from the shared content!

In anticipation of launch, Neil, myself and friends have created some example loops that demonstrate how versatile the app is. Take a look at the Featured Loops page on You’ll find learning loops for:

Just a few of our examples to kick off the app. As more people purchase Loop&Learn we expect the content to grow and it will always remain free to download user generated loops so the loop library should get bigger and better 🙂

Thanks to the power of Twitter when users share new learning loops Loop&Learn sends a tweet with a link to the newly created loop preview page on our site. Like this one for example:

what’s really cool is that on the top right of that preview page is a download link which when clicked on by Loop&Learn users via Safari or most iPhone Twitter clients Loop&Learn will automatically:

  1. launch on the  iPhone
  2. download and install the loop being previewed

The Website stays up-to-date automatically with the latest learning loops uploaded by Loop&Learn users. We have also launched the site with a ‘Hot Loops’ / Featured Loops section.

Happy Looping!

Pitching the Microphone with Flash Player 10.1 Beta

I’ve been lucky enough to get some Research & Development work in over the last few weeks. The latest batch of work has included some experimental stuff with the the new Microphone features introduced in Flash Player 10.1 which is currently in beta. You can download the required Flash Player here.

In the example below the app will automatically record your voice until you stop talking and will playback the sound bytes as Barry White or a Chipmunk (adjust using the slider).

Prior to Flash 10.1 you could manipulate the sound bytearray from an mp3 at runtime but you couldn’t access the native incoming microphone data. I can see this modification to the Flash Player leading to some really cool future games and apps.

In my example there’s currently no encoding to mp3. I just save the incoming sound byte arrays in memory. I think there may be as3 mp3 encoders already written if this was a project requirement.

Microphone Fun

Alternative content

Get Adobe Flash player

I’m also really intrigued by Didier Brun’s R&D work on voice recognition in Flash Player 10.1:

Looks like he’s really getting somewhere from those example videos. I guess one approach might be to render the sound data samples to bitmaps and run the sort of blend, colour threshold comparisons that you achieve with Flash WebCam motion detection.

Thanks to Andre Michelle’s shared work on pitching MP3s and Devon Wolfgang’s microphone code example I was able to get the above up and running.

Here’s the source 🙂