Wearable Device Supplements Human Memory


June 4, 2004

Accenture Technology Labs have released a prototype memory device that aids those of us who have difficulty remembering names. The Personal Awareness Assistant uses a speech recognition engine, two small microphones, an inconspicuous camera and a scrolling audio buffer to passively listen to what a user says, continually storing the previous 60 seconds of conversation in a "passive" memory and actively recalling this data when it hears a pre-selected phrase like "Nice to meet you".

This gives the ability to be customised for particular contexts and situations with the audio component of the "memory" backed by a low-res image of the person you are meeting that's taken by the on-board camera. Data is then stored in an address book and can be recalled by voice commands like "Who was that person I met at lunch on Monday?". The challenge for technicians is to reduce the size of the conspicuous prototype to create an unobtrusive memory supplement that is undetectable by all but the user.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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