I’m hooked on Instagram. It’s lame to say that, to admit you actually adore some mass-market social media service. But I love to see snapshots of my friends’ lives—candids and composed photos alike. So the question becomes, would I be interested in seeing and sharing even more … much, much more?
Memoto is a wearable lifecam that’s banking on us all answering "yes." Recently featured on Kickstarter, the Memoto is like a Microsoft Sensecam for the post-iPod era. It’s a mere 1.4-inch square that clips to your shirt to automatically take photos all day every day. It exudes smart industrial design. When you want to take photos, you clip it on. When you want privacy, you just take it off or stick it in your pocket. And despite being uber tiny, the Memoto manages to convey its purpose as a mini cam that’s aimed at who you’re talking to.
"It’s important that the device isn’t looked at as a ‘spy camera,’" Co-Founder Oskar Kalmaru admits. "[But] the biggest challenge when building lifelogging products is not to create ways of capturing images/data but to analyze them."
Because while the Memoto feels miniscule, it leaves an impossibly large digital footprint—two 5MP geotagged shots each minute, or 2,880 photos each day by default. That’s too many to share, too many to sort through and even too many to save for that long. In response, Memoto comes with a lot of app support. You can always pull your shots off iOS or Android devices to share on Instagram or Memoto’s own service, or you can upload them to Memoto’s cloud to be auto-sorted through various imaging algorithms (that, frankly, sound like they’re still in development).
Still it’s easy to imagine what Memoto could do: Toss photos of friends into one folder, or maybe go so far as to sort photos of individual people. Cross-reference geotags with businesses to log my meals at actual restaurants. Definitely trash every image in which you’re staring at a laptop screen or TV. The question becomes, how smart can this startup make their own image recognition? And how quickly can they get it working, not just from a computer but from your phone, too?
There’s also one, much bigger elephant in the room. We still don’t really know if lifecams are an error of futurists, whether it’s some 1970s acid-dropped ideal that doesn’t resonate with a digitally connected society. Because one only needs to look at the success of apps like Snapchat to realize, for as much as we’re all looking to save our memories forever, there are just as many we’re trying to forget.
I guess there’s only one way to find out. Memoto is on preorder now for $279, shipping this April.