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Microsoft Social Networks Hardware

MS's "Lifeblogging" Camera Enters Mass Production 119

holy_calamity writes "Remember Microsoft's camera to be slung around the necks of people with Alzheimer's to help them recall where they'd been? A version of this device will now be mass-produced by a UK firm, Vicon, which obtained a license from Microsoft to manufacture the camera. It is worn around the neck and takes an image every thirty seconds, or in response to its light sensor, accelerometer, or body-heat sensor indicating that something of interest may be happening. Until now only a few hundred had been made for research, which showed they can genuinely help people with memory problems. The new version will be marketed to Alzheimer's researchers this winter, and to consumers for 'lifelogging' beginning in 2010."
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MS's "Lifeblogging" Camera Enters Mass Production

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  • The big problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:36PM (#29779369)

    Getting people with memory problems to remember they have them and how to use them.

  • by John Hasler ( 414242 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:38PM (#29779381) Homepage

    The technology involved is bloody well obvious.

  • Re:The big problem (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:50PM (#29779457) Homepage
    Yeah, I've got an issue with this. Most people with memory loss issues have problems with short term memory. Not so much "what is this thing around my neck" but more of issue of ignoring it and never downloading or looking at it. I find it hard to believe someone will go through several hours of stills to find their keys.

    It could be of use for family or health care providers to see what the person actually does all day, but again, somehow that seems like an awfully small niche item.

    I suspect this will be dead from poor signal to noise issues in a year. No wireless. Lame.
  • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:54PM (#29779481)

    Technology can and does change our lives in profound and wonderful ways, but...

    I think a pad of paper and a pen might be a better solution, or even a PDA (remember when they were called PDAs?) with a calendar and note taking application.

    8:10 AM - Took heart medication.

    9:45 AM - Went to market to pick up bread for dinner.

    10:30 AM - Took blood pressure medication.

    10:40 AM - Maintenance stopped by and fixed the leaky faucet in the bathroom. If it starts leaking again, call 555-1212 and ask for Ben and let him know it's still leaking.

    People with memory problems need a convenient and reliable memory enhancer. I doubt recording your life and having to watch it back over and over to see what you've done is convenient or reliable. Glancing at your pad of paper or calendar plus note taking application is easy, fast, convenient, and reliable.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:00PM (#29779507)

    if you can remember how to use it.

  • by Anpheus ( 908711 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:14PM (#29779593)

    Maybe the company in question is licensing a pre-made design and schematics?

    I think it's worth many lulz that you automatically assumed it was a patent license and thus a crime against humanity.

  • by edwebdev ( 1304531 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:12PM (#29779937)
    This could be really useful if they added sound recording and a way to program the device to take a picture upon sensing a pre-determined stimulus. You could, for instance, record a couple samples of the sound keys make when you put them down somewhere and tell the device to take a snapshot whenever it detects a similar noise. Assuming accurate pattern-matching, something like this could really cut down on time lost searching for lost keys.

    I'm sure there are tons of other movement/light/sound stimuli combinations that would also be useful to program in as markers for important events. The sound of a car engine starting, a door closing or opening - if this could be opened up to community development, the possibilities are staggering.
  • Re:The big problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frans Faase ( 648933 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:26PM (#29780431) Homepage
    To be honest, lately, I have been thinking about putting a cinder-block around my neck and jump in the canal. The slogan of the Dutch Alzheimer's society is: "He suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, she has it." Alzheimer's Disease is often the hardest for the people around, who have to see a loved slowly crumble down and return into a baby. I already have lost her as a partner, her emotional development is like a 10 year old child. I often find myself talking with my 15 year daughter about her like normal parents would talk about their children. It is no surprise that my daughter is only staying with us in the weekends and staying elsewhere the rest of the time. I have a feeling that my life has come to an end. Next month I am going to be 48, but it often feels like I am 20 years older.
  • Re:The big problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Frans Faase ( 648933 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:32PM (#29780469) Homepage
    This is very true. Most of her activities depend on procedural memory. It seems she has already forgotten all the things she does not do on a weekly basis. She is not able to write her name. Lately, I discovered that she cannot make the most simply 9 piece jigsaw puzzles any more. Even with three pieces left, she had a hard time. But if I play some old Chinese songs (she is from China), she immediately starts to sing a long. There are still many things she remembers. I am surprised that she still can remember her shoppings. Sometimes, I give her a list, but lately she is getting trouble with reading it seems. I have to read the list to her a few times. It seems she can remember up to about three items. She goes to do some shopping almost every day. She likes to bike around the city (we live in The Netherlands).
  • Re:The big problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FesterDaFelcher ( 651853 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:53PM (#29780593)

    I apologize for that jackass' response above (even though this is /., so it is to be expected). You are being sincere and sharing useful info, and he is just a troll. Anyway, understand that there are good times to come, and if you try to make the best of what time she has left, it will mean loads to your daughter in her future. I suspect you already know this, but remeber that your daughter is still watching how you treat this situation and it molds her as well. Just know that you have positive energy coming your way from me. Alzheimer's sucks.

  • Re:The big problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Saturday October 17, 2009 @06:57PM (#29780625) Journal

    I watched a loved one slowly fade away via Alzheimer's. I feel for you, friend, and wish you some peace.

    Take care of yourself and daughter, and don't be afraid to ask people for help. You'd be surprised what resources are available and how many people will step up and help out. And the help is for you more than for your wife. You still have lots of life to live, and a daughter to live it for.

    I often wondered (and hoped) if my loved one was increasingly immersed in some gauzy state of inattention, not so aware (or concerned) about the distress her condition was causing the rest of us.

  • by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @08:39PM (#29781091)

    Not only is it obvious, it has already existed for years: you can hang any camera with an interval function around your neck. People have done this to document their day, although it gets boring pretty fast (and has serious privacy implications).

    Furthermore, there are more and more tiny video cameras you can attach to your helmet and clothes and that last for many hours.

  • Re:The big problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @09:40PM (#29781363)

    "I have a feeling that my life has come to an end. Next month I am going to be 48, but it often feels like I am 20 years older."

    My parents both had Alzheimers.

    At some point, you should consider institutionalizing your wife. Both my wife and myself are Air Force vets, capable people, and that didn't mean shit because Alz patients are exhausting to care for even when they are mostly docile.

    She will require care 24 hours a day, and there is no way one or even two people (my wife and I cared for my dying father) can do that. We were able, after he could not live alone, place him in a very good nursing home. We later moved him to a small house on our property, and were able to get in-home caregivers and later, hospice caregivers so my father could die with us. That was in the last year or so of his life. My mother preferred a nursing home near her older extended family.

    Alzheimers is brutal (if I'm diagnosed with it, I will organize my affairs and prepare to suicide. May anyone who has moral/religious problems with this come down with Alzheimers!), there is nothing to be done about it, there is no hope, and that must be faced and dealt with straight off.

    Look into assisted home care options with a view to moving her into permanent custodial care. Take your time looking at caregivers (good nursing homes literally "smell right" and the staff are genuinely concerned) and learn about your options.

    Above all, find social outlets and deliberately prepare yourself for another life. You are middle-aged, you can't accomplish anything at all (this is the hardest part) by staying with your doomed partner, and you have a right to live. Take care, and make a future for yourself.

  • by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @10:33PM (#29781551)

    The technology involved is bloody well obvious.

    "Cognitive Prosthetics" is bleeding-edge.

    The tech has to be proven in clinical trials. Digital technology eyed in fight against Alzheimer's []

    Clinical trials cost money.

    On November 27, Microsoft announced that it was giving $550 000 in funding to six teams of academic researchers in the United Kingdom and North America. One of the researchers, Fergus Gracey, a clinical psychologist from the Oliver Zangwill Centre for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, in Ely, U.K., is planning to use SenseCam to help the rehabilitation of patients with acquired brain injury. "Many of our clients have a shorter fuse or find it difficult to manage emotional arousal," says Gracey. "We hope to use the reviewing of SenseCam images of the trigger situation, along with heart-rate recordings of the individual during that situation, to help prompt recall and to help the person tune in physiologically to what was going on." A Camera to Help Dementia Patients []

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.