Path Diary

Everyday, people are worried about remembering tiny things or places. If people can record and save their life experience in another alternative place, ‘storage devices,’ people could recall memory more easily and reuse it again. This project would make it easier to remember our daily experiences. It is not only useful to people who are apt to forget, but also helpful for memorizing our life experiences.

Keywords

path, brain, diary, memory loss, daily experience, place, record, event, object, GPS, RFID

Design Questions 

# Experience 01 

My friends and I went to SoHo to eat dinner. I wanted to find the Malaysian restaurant where I had a dinner with other friends, but couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant. I just remembered the atmosphere and dubious direction about the location. Finally, we were obliged to choose another restaurant to eat dinner.

# Experience 02

My mother always loses her house key in our house. She tries to designate a place to put the key, but every time she failed in finding it.

Every day people encounter lots of events. Although there are several unpleasant feeling memories, people want to remember numerous things from a small house key to a favorite restaurant. However, our brain is limited in saving people’s entire life experience.

How can we save whole our life experience somewhere and take it out when we need it?

Target User

The primary user will be the person who gets lots of stress remembering everyday life who is over thirty. In addition, this tool is very helpful to people who suffer from Altzheimer’s disease to recall their memory and people who get cancer and will die soon to share their life with their lover. In addition, the parents of an autistic child could figure out what problem they have or how they think.

Background

“We remember instants, not days.” (Cesare Pavese)

Watching and remembering something, new memory comes into existence in a fixed place to be saved in the brain and the memory comes out from that place when people recall it. In Howstuffworks.com, they talk about amnesia, which is a result of mingling patheways – ‘memory traces’. 

“Physiologically speaking, a memory is the result of chemical or even structural changes in synaptic transmissions between neurons. As these changes occur, a pathway is created. This pathway is called a memory trace. Signals can travel along these memory traces through the brain.” (Howstuffworks)

For that reason, when getting old people sometimes fail to recall memory because memory paths mingle in order to store a previous memory while accommodating new memories. So, that means the memory is not lost, but just failed to find a pathway to recall the previous memory. This phenomenon shows why memory comes out suddenly later. (see Fig. 1.)

before 30 years old
after 30 years old

[Fig. 1. – Memory loss after thirty years of age] 

Our memory of experiences is saved in an already fixed space in our brain. People lose or can’t recall their memory because they can’t find the path of the fixed space in their brain. However, if some clues of an incident are given, people recall their experience. To recall a memory or an experience, people write a diary or a note. It can be a personal history of everyday life and a map of the place where people store experiences in their brain. Then, if people could store their entire life, they would not lose any memory and could recall memories whenever they want. In addition, if they could share the memory with their family and friends, they could convey directly what they think or feel.

Project Summary

Every event of people’s lives happens in some physical places in the world and people remember the event or feeling about the atmosphere. Each event connects with other events as the memory in the brain works like physical places that are connected with other places in the real world. If people store an entire real life’s path in a physical location, that means they could save all memory paths in the brain. So, we could build the hypothesis that the location of an occurrence in the physical world is the same as the memory location in our brains. For that reason, developing a memory device to store and to search for an event or experience with the location information of the real world would show us the possibility of saving and recalling the entire memory of our lives. (see Fig. 2.)

concept of Path Dairy

[Fig. 2. – The location of an event occurrence = The memory location]

The ‘Path Diary’ is a tool to record and recall the path of everyday life with visual and auditory memories as a diary of people’s memory. Although people use five senses to save their memory, people utilize visual and auditory senses more than others. This kind of phenomenon supports the interview results that people usually describe most memories with a visual sense. (Ji Sun Lee, Interview result report).

Also, people could not remember the event that they had been experienced in the past exactly, and they make up a new and transformed story about their past experience. Even if they remember a false memory, they believe the memory is true. In the movie ‘The Wizard of OZ’, the real world is the black and white color movie and the imaginary world is color movie (see Fig. 3.) 

[Fig. 3. – The wizard of OZ: real world vs. imaginary world]

In the ‘Path Diary’, our whole experience would be stored in black and white, and the memory that we want to remember would be stored in color, like we remember imaginary memory and believe that it is a true event that they experienced. So, the memory in this diary is not the same as our memory, but this memory in the ‘Path Diary’ would be a gate or clue showing a real event with the real physical place to enter our imaginary memory.

The ‘Path Diary’ consists of ‘The Third Eye’, ‘Memory Diary’, and ‘RFID(Radio Frequency Identification)-it’, which are related to the physical location. ‘The Third Eye’ could capture an event and the ‘RFID-it’ could be used to find an object around people. The ‘Memory Diary’ is to display the location information of the event and the object on a screen. 

Path Diary
The Third EyeMemory DiaryRFID-it
To remember an event
To remember an object

[Table 1. Structure of the Path Diary]

The Third Eye

‘The Third Eye’ records visual and auditory memories as what you see and hear. The memory is recorded by a recording device, which consists of a camera, a microphone, and a GPS(Global positioning system). There are two kinds of designs for this device. The first one is attaching the camera between the eyes and connects with left and right memory buttons which control the recording function (see Fig. 4.). 

[Fig. 4. The first design of The Third Eye]

The reason of attaching the camera between the eyes is to record the same angle of view that people turn their head all the time to see. However, people tend to hesitate to attach something in their face and it can’t exactly detect a movement of the pupil of the eye (Ji Sun Lee, Prototype test result report). So, the second design was designed to overcome these disadvantages. This design is hanging the device on the ear and its lens can detect the eyeball of a user. The camera is located on side of the record button (see Fig. 5.). 

[Fig. 5. The second design of The Third Eye]

The recorded data of the event and location by GPS always saves into ‘Memory Diary’ in real time and if the user presses the record button, the system of the device creates new event data with time and location information and sends the data to the Memory Diary to save and display the data.

Memory Diary

The ‘Memory Diary’ is to display everyday paths using GPS with the memory spots which are created by The Third Eye. This is similar to a typical diary. People could see and search for their daily life events using date and location information and evoke past memory when they watch and listen to the movie made by clicking the record button. In addition, if users want to remember the memory more specifically, they can add text to an event. 

[Fig. 6. Interface of the Memory Diary]

Basically, the ‘Memory Diary’ would be displayed in the ‘Path Diary’ which has the same as shape of as a diary. Furthermore, the same data on the screen would be displayed in the palm of the hand, a cell phone, a mirror at home, or a picture frame.

RFID – it

This device is to find an object that people forget very often and to attach the RFID(radio frequency identification) tag to an object. The ‘RFID-it’ would include a function detecting a location using the GPS (minimum 1m) and a small space detector like NorthStar (minimum 3cm ~5cm). If a user has the object that he or she wants to remember such as a house key or a television remote controller, he or she presses a button to create a RFID tag which includes location information and data. Then, at the same time, ‘The Third Eye’ records the object. When the user wants to find the object, he or she looks the ‘Memory Diary’ and presses the find button for the object. The user would be able to see where the object is and to hear the sound that the tag on the object makes. Following the sound and knowing the location in the specific area on the screen lets people find the object very easily.

[Fig. 7. How to use RFID-it]

Design Process

1. Define a purpose of the project

– decide the goal of the project

– fix the project schedule

2. Find detailed design problems

– interview more than five participants

3. Research conventional tools for memory

– investigate the specific functions of the tools

4. Design scenarios

– define the target users

– develop the specific tasks within context

– build up scenarios

5. Develop prototypes

– develop low-fidelity prototype

6. 1st prototype test 

– test with more than 5 participants

7. Develop prototypes

– develop hi-fidelity prototype

8. 2nd prototype test

– test with more than 5 participants

9. Report

Evaluation

Although the ‘Path Diary’ was developed by a contextual prototype, it definitely could be developed by certain technologies such as spy cameras, GPS trackers, and RFID chips. There was a limitation about the time and cost, so in this step the project was focused on building the concept. However, there are lots of advantages, but some risks also should be considered.

Pros

The people don’t know how much our life is important before losing their memories, but the ‘Path Diary’ could prevent losing our memory and help people to escape from fear about degeneration of the brain with time. In addition, the ‘Path Diary’ would be give a chance to train persons who suffer amnesia or lose memory to remember something. This tool would be very helpful to people who get cancer and will die soon to share their life with their lover. 

Cons

If the data of the ‘Path Diary’ is exposed to other people, it could become dangerous problems with violating privacy. Others could completely understand the person’s life through scanning the ‘Path Diary’ and the user of the ‘Path Diary’ could intrude on others privacy. Another problem is about the finding a specific memory in a huge database. The ‘Path Diary’ stores the data with time and location information. If the user forgets the time and location about that memory, it is difficult to find the memory in the ‘Path Diary’. 

Although there are several risks, advantages could be a very important factor in using this diary. If the ‘Path Diary’ will be developed by real product in the market, many patients suffering memory loss would obtain a lot of benefits by saving their life memory.

Bibliography

Yi-Fu Tuan. “Space and Place, the Perspective of experience”. 1977

Bill Viol.“Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?” .1982

Wardrip-Fruin and Montfort editors, The New Media Reader. 2003

Howstuffworks. “What exactly is amnesia?” 10 November 2004. < http://science.howstuffworks.com/question672.htm>.

Ji Sun Lee. “Interview result report of the ‘Path Diary'”. 25 November 2004. <http://a.parsons.edu/~jslee/interface2004/frame.html>

Ji Sun Lee. “Prototype test result report of the ‘Path Diary'”. 9 December 2004. <http://a.parsons.edu/~jslee/interface2004/frame.html>

Wikipedia. “RFID”. 2 December 2004. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RFID>

Reference

Mylifebits. <http://research.microsoft.com/barc/MediaPresence/MyLifeBits.aspx>

Innovations: A Watchful Wristwatch. <http://www.engr.washington.edu/enews/2004-10/11-print.html>

NorthStar : Intelligent localization for indoor products. <http://www.evolution.com>

GPS Drawing. <http://www.gpsdrawing.com>

GPS photo Linking. <http://www.macdevcenter.com/pub/a/2004/06/15/gps_photo.html>

Habitat Perspectives. <http://www.marumushi.com/apps/perspectives/index.cfm>

Elephant paths. <http://www.elephantpaths.net/>

What exactly is amesia?, <http://science.howstuffworks.com/question672.htm>

Women and Alzheimer’s Disease , <http://www.nymemory.org/menmemandmoo.html>