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Can Lifelogging Devices Augment Our Memories?

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In one of the latest runaway crowdfunding success stories, the Swedish creators of the lifelogging device Memoto, hoping to raise $50,000 through Kickstarter, wound up raising more than $540,000 in just a month. Clearly, something about their project captured donors’ imaginations. The stamp-sized camera clips to users’ lapels and takes a high-res photo every 30 seconds. Built-in GPS and accompanying software enable users to see a timeline of their activity when they plug in the device to recharge. Memoto is the newest tool for acolytes of the growing “Quantified Self” movement, which aims to use technology to process the endless stream of data that is a human life. When Gordon Bell spoke about his lifelogging habits at Techonomy 2012, he was wearing a similar camera developed by Microsoft Research on a string around his neck.

Will life recorders become this century’s wristwatch, as Michael Arrington predicts? It’s still hard to gauge the potential popularity of a tool like this. Who wants to obsessively record their every movement and encounter, and why? Pando Daily’s Hamish McKenzie got some compelling answers to these very questions from Memoto co-founder Oskar Kalmaru. It turns out that lifelogging can be a powerful tool for memory augmentation, including for those suffering from Alzheimer’s. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait to see the impact of Memoto. Like many Kickstarter projects, early enthusiasm has yet to translate into a product release.

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