Photo of Bamburgh Castle with beach and rocks in foreground.

Hello there.

My name is Ben Sherlock and Whimsical Otter is my indie app development studio based in Newcastle, UK. A beautiful and inspirational location: from the industrial heritage of Tyneside to the iron age settlements and medieval castles along the North-East coast.

I started out building apps for use in my day-to-day life. Simple but effective apps to make life that little bit easier. The first app I created was the sunrise alarm clock, Electric Dawn, to replace my £100 bedside sunrise lamp when it ceased to work. I currently wake everyday to the dawn chorus of summer birds – no more jarring alarm clock for me. ;)

Shortly after starting Electric Dawn I then developed a Lightbox app to illuminate my medium format negatives. I realised that these apps may also be of use to others so I started Whimsical Otter to publish them to the wider community.

Electric Dusk helps me de-stress, relax and fall asleep with my favourite nature soundtrack being the cobbles rolling over each other as the waves break on the shore.

Chirpr is an ideas exploration app using sound to transmit messages instead of radio with easy to access hardware (your average Android phone). In my PhD we use sound to transmit data through the sea from divers and environmental sensors on the seabed. It’s more challenging when your software needs to run on a wide range of different hardware specifications.

Even after several years of Whimsical Otter, the motivation is still to make life that little bit easier through the new apps whilst also experimenting and exploring new ideas.

Alongside the app development I am also working on a PhD in underwater acoustic communications. You can find more information and articles over at my personal blog at