FFE Magazine

Smallest "lifelogging" camera soon to be available

by FFE EU News staff

The Swedish company Memoto revealed the latest and smallest lifelogging camera to date. The Memoto camera resembles an iPod mini and, according to co-founder Oskar Kalmaru, is the newest tool available for the “tech-savvy world without the patience to keep a diary.”

38-year-old co-founder Martin Kaellstroem learned to seize each day when he lost both parents to cancer at an early age. He said that “When you lose your parents, you realize that you don’t live forever. It has definitely affected me in my entrepreneurship. I can’t wait until later to fulfill my dreams, I have to live my dream now.”

Lifelogging is a technique for gathering daily moments. It has been gaining popularity with mobile applications such as Saga, which creates infographics that summarizes your life through smartphone data, and health trackers like Runkeeper and Moves.

British lifelogging camera Autographer has been used in the medical field to facilitate Alzheimer’s patients. GoPro and Looxcie meanwhile target practitioners of extreme sports.

The Memoto does not have an off button and takes a picture every 30 seconds. It then collects and sorts the photos according to GPS location, time and light. The resulting “memory timeline” can then be shared on social media like Facebook and Twitter. The camera can be worn with a clip on the shirt or on a string.

According to Kaellstroem, there are two types of Memoto users: “The first category, to which I belong, is the collector who saves and organizes the memories, but only shares them with a small circle of close friends and family. The other group is more social, aiming to share a creative and active life through various social media platforms.”

Steven Sage, a researcher at the Swedish Defense Research Agency, said that lifelogging presents issues in privacy. He added that the private sphere is relative: what is not offensive to one person might be to another. He also said that users may lose control of the situation once pictures become searchable.

Jan Svaerdhagen, who is currently writing a book about lifelogging, agreed, saying “The first question one should raise is ‘what function is filled by taking a photo every 30 seconds’? Who buys the product and for what purpose? Are we entering the next stage of social media where we not only log, but also share our lives 24/7 in a kind of Big Brother Light version?”

“Are we entering narcissism in its most extreme form?” he added.

Kaellstroem explained that their team had tackled privacy issues while designing the camera. “It has to be clear that it is a camera, but yet with a friendly design that makes people comfortable and not distracted.”

4,000 Memotos will soon be available to users. The team also said they might develop accessories like waterproof case, a wide angle lens and WIFI dock in the future. In the meantime, users can personalise their camera online.

 

Lisa Ehlin, an expert in digital culture at Stockholm University, said “The lifelogging cameras are just the tip of the iceberg in the ‘quantified self’ movement. I’m sure we will walk around with some cool new gadgets in the future, like those mouth chips or body tattoos tracking your health and what you eat. But mainly, it’s all about social life and friends.”

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