Inspiration and Background
The idea of storing my entire life has been a curiosity the older I get. A kind of Digital Memory that can be recalled at anytime is something of the future. A while back I got a chance to learn about Hyperthymesia on 60 Minutes called "The Gift of Endless Memory". It was fascinating! Not only could those people recall the detail memory, they were also able to invoke the emotions and feelings. Don't we all wish to relive those ephemeral moments that echo throughout our lives? The first kiss for instance. The first steps of your baby. The love of your life!?
The best moments are often the simple ones that pass without notice. The small surprises. The everyday things.
As a tech enthusiast, I've watched the prices of memory storage dropped over the years. You can now buy a 3 Terabytes drive for about $100. In the next 5-10 years, storage will be trivial and become a commodity. Coupled with this trend, mobile recording devices are proliferating with greater capabilities. We now have more devices than there are humans. I believe the time is right to combine these two wonderful innovations to make the Life Recordr a reality.
"Life Recorders May Be This Century's Wrist Watch" http://techcrunch.com/2009/09/06/life-recorders-may-be-this-centurys-wrist-watch/
Researcher Records His Life On Computer http://www.cbsnews.com/news/researcher-records-his-life-on-computer/
Indeed, a few attempts do exist...
Microsoft tried with the Revue. http://gizmodo.com/5715148/spare-775-microsofts-sensecam-lifecaster-is-available-now-as-the-vicon-revue
Another recent one with a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The biggest problem with these is that they require you to buy another expensive hardware device to carry with you. At the lowest price of $199, these cameras don't even come close to the ones on the phone. Then there's the issue of connections and syncing to the cloud. Storage will be problematic with these external devices.
What it does
Life Recordr solves the problems by offering the software right on the device with a Free app. You already have with you the Ultimate device, let's put it to work. Similar to cars with Self-Driving mode, your phone can now have Self-Capturing functionality. Using an Algorithm, the app can snap photos every few minutes, every changes in movement and direction through Accelerometer and Gyroscope sensors, and detection in location differences. In addition, the app can record Both Photos & Audios at the same time or separately of course. While in record mode, Mask mode is available to turn down Brightness to conserve battery and cover the app with a Black background. The app can be On for a long time without anyone noticing.
Everything is stored locally on the device and accessible as soon as it's recorded. This is great for places without internet connections. If something is not right, easily delete on the go. There is a Map view that enhances the recall process by tagging locations and time that Photo, Audio, or Video was taken. When it's back in range, upload it the cloud for secured storage and organization with a simple tap.
For events, there will be an option to collaborate and share photos, audios, or videos Live as it happens. Imagine a wedding or family reunion where a collection of photos are loaded into a stream that can be enjoyed instantly or later afterwards.
How I built it
The first step was to master all three Camera methods of Photo, Audio, and Video. Each one has unique file format and different sets of controls. The second step was to write the Automated algorithm to take photos with regular time interval, accelerometer / gyroscope sensors, and geolocation detection. Next up was combining both Photos and Audio on one interface to record at the same time. Then there was the issue of battery management and the app being ON constantly. I solve this with the Mask which was added as part of the user interface design.
One of the tricks was to create a local storage of Files and Database. Since everything is stored locally on the device, a lot of care went into making it fast and robust. Things are organized by Day under the corresponding folder. There's the option to delete individual files as well as the entire day. This is important for Memory management as you collect hundreds of photos and lots of audios and videos.
Map view uses geolocation coordinates to show the Photos, Audio, or Video recorded on that day.
How I Wear it
With the iPhone 4, iPhone 5, and iPhone 6 plus, I was able to find bits and pieces to assemble some custom Neck Strap. The trick was making something that would limit the device spinning around. I was also able to add a portable power block to extend the battery during recording. With a full charge and some extra power, the app will last all day!
One interesting business opportunity of Life Recordr is the Accessories. There are endless possibilities to make something cool to "wear" the phone.
Challenges I ran into
The biggest challenge was creating the Gallery to search the large amount of photos. Since there are hundreds of photos for the day, I needed a way to view them without the app crashing. The final method uses a Filter for range of photos to view at one time. Thumbnails are used to make it fast and responsive.
The other challenge was coding the Algorithm. Had to manage all the different triggers that take photos on a time loop.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
I'm most proud of the Algorithm that automatically snap the photos. This is arguably the most important part of any life recordr. Capture only the good moments and eliminate the repetitive and blurry ones.
What I learned
We can do this today! It's affordable and the tech is available Now to begin logging your life.
What's next for Life Recordr
Deciding which Cloud provider to store all the data is the next crucial step. It's important to find a solution that is scalable, robust, and has a good rate. Users will be offered subscription plans for personal cloud storage. As part of coming to RootsTech, I'm excited to explore all the options to push Life Recordr forward. Once the app goes Live, there must be a way to Store, Index, and Search all the data.