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The Emerging Trend of "Life Caching"

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Christian Lindholm's heavy accent greets me over a clear telephone line from Helsinki, Finland. As one of Nokia's key creative minds he has spent the past 10 years designing mobile phones and building user-friendly interfaces.

The 38-year-old inventor's latest project is the Nokia Lifeblog, software that is loaded on a camera phone and PC to create a multimedia diary.

The program, which costs €30 ($50), collects text messages, picture messages and video clips you send and receive on your handset and organises them into a chronological form that's easy to view.

With Lifeblog, when you connect your handset to a PC your day's (or week's) information is transferred across to make room for more information on your phone. And, once it's on the desktop, you can edit and search through your life record.

Nokia is one of the first companies to market a product that is tapping into an emerging trend that could potentially change the way we record, and ultimately remember, our lives. The new buzzword is life caching, a term that describes the information we capture about our lives using the various digital devices we are increasingly attached to.

"Really, the social transformation is in the subject of what you record. Because you always have the camera with you and you can quickly get to it, you start to record the little things in life or the real moments. You will be able to really start recording your life [with a lot more detail] and, since you are recording it primarily for yourself rather than to share, then you have the fundamental ingredients for a multimedia diary."

Wilkinson points to the likelihood of an artificially intelligent electronic helper that will learn from our digital habits and favourites, decide what to record in our digital cache and then organise the information into our life story.

"Try to imagine, and this is interesting, my personal avatar [a virtual representation of oneself] is going to be some sort of device that is kept on my network that has a fair idea about me and what I like and think is important. It could help me select parts of my life that I would wish to keep in my sort of more active memory, as opposed to just the soup that is everything that I collect. It will be really just a question of, 'Well, is this how I wish to remember my life?' or will I prefer to use my internal memory."

Personal black box

Microsoft is planning to take life diaries to a new, more detailed level with SenseCam. This wearable device is designed to capture up to 2000 images a day on its 128MB memory.

It will also record temperature, light level and movement and will take a picture every time the environment changes or it detects people nearby.

The company likens it to a personal black box that will be able to tell what happened in case of an accident. "All the interesting trivial details of life can be recorded and shared with family and friends," says Lyndsay Williams, who is part of the Microsoft Research team developing SenseCam.

The images can be transferred to a PC using a USB connection but you will also be able to quickly review your life, Williams says.

"On the SenseCam, the images are normally viewed as a 'SenseMovie', that is, the still images are displayed as a movie 100 times faster than recorded. You can review your entire day (or someone else's) in about three minutes."


At March 7, 2005 at 8:34 AM Anonymous said...

Interesting article.

30€ is more like $40, not $50.

29.95 Euro (EUR) = 39.65380 US Dollar (USD) (


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