Total Pageviews

Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet Memoto, the Lifelogging Camera

AUSTIN, TEX., â€" Facebook and Instagram have conditioned people into sharing photos of their most memorable moments â€" vacations, parties, weddings, meals and outings with friends.

But what about everything else that happens in between

That’s the content that Memoto, a Swedish start-up, wants to capture with a small, wearable camera that takes automatic photos of the surroundings of its wearer.

The square-shaped device can be clipped onto a collar, a jacket or worn around the neck on a string. It snaps photos automatically, at 30-second intervals, and switches off only when it is dark, face-down or placed into a pocket.

“It’s not only the stuff you thought you would what to remember,” like beautiful sunsets, elaborate dinners and rambunctious nights out with friends, said Martin Källström, one of the founders of the company. “Ordinary moments can turn out to be special. But the only way to see that is to capture everything.”

Mmoto is one of the hardware companies hoping to drum up attention for their product in Austin this week. They’re giving a talk and hosting a meet-up for self-trackers, or people who collect data about themselves in the hopes to learning more about their daily activities and habits.

The company, which was founded in 2011, has raised close to a million in fund-raising through Kickstarter and from European investors. The device costs $279 and includes a year of free online photo storage. It comes with 8 gigabytes of storage, enough to hold up to 6,000 photos. Its battery can last for a few days before it needs a recharge. The company has already received 3,000 preorders, and they hope to begin shipping devices out by late April or early May.

To start, the photos will not be ava! ilable for sharing through social media, although eventually that will be included as a feature. When its users plug the device into their computers to charge, Memoto uploads the photos via Wi-Fi into a companion application where its wearers can review the photos of the day, or watch a time-lapse video of a series of images. The app teases out the sharpest images of the set and displays them in a scrollable timeline.

Users will also be able to search through their photographic archive by location and time of day, which are captured by a clock and GPS unit built into the device. Eventually, its founders say, they hope that the photos in Memoto can be paired with other tracking and data applications, to provide the photostream associated with that activity. For example, runners who use RunKeeper or Nike Plus could someday sync their Memoto data with their running data and watch a playback of the images they captured on their morning jogs. In addition, double-tapping the device sets off the shutter an that could also be programmed as a signal to send an image to a service like Evernote or a social networking site like Twitter.

Memoto’s camera hints at some of the issues that will emerge about privacy, ownership of data and social etiquette as automatic lifelogging devices like theirs, or Google Glass, become more prevalent in the wild. There are also larger questions about how secure the sensitive information captured on these devices will turn out to be, or what happens should these companies go out of business, potentially taking reservoirs of personal information captured over the years with it.

Memoto’s founders say they kept the design conspicuous, so that others would be aware of it presence and could inquire about it or request that its owner take it off while they are talking. There is no off switch or even a way to delete photos captured by the device.

Mr. Källström believes that the protocol around when to capture and when to share will evolve naturally, as more ! devices l! ike his migrate into the mainstream.

Lifelogging “sounds like a crazy idea,” he said. “But the whole world is starting to think about it and the potential that can come from it.”