Meet Memoto, the Lifelogging Camera; Memoto snaps photos automatically at thirty-second intervals

MARCH 8, 2013, 2:47 PM

Meet Memoto, the Lifelogging Camera

By JENNA WORTHAM

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Memoto snaps photos automatically at thirty-second intervals.

AUSTIN, TEX., — Facebook and Instagram have conditioned people into sharing photos of their most memorable moments — vacations, parties, weddings, meals and outings with friends.

But what about everything else that happens in between?

That’s the content that Memoto, a Swedish start-up, wants to capture with a small, wearable camera that automatically takes photos of the wearer’s surroundings.

The square-shaped device can be clipped onto a collar, a jacket or worn around the neck on a string. It snaps photos at 30-second intervals, and switches off only when it is dark, face-down or placed into a pocket.

“It’s not only the stuff you thought you would want to remember,” like beautiful sunsets, elaborate dinners and rambunctious nights out with friends, said Martin Kallstrom, one of the founders of the company. “Ordinary moments can turn out to be special. But the only way to see that is to capture everything.”

Memoto is one of the hardware companies hoping to drum up attention for their product in Austin this week. They’re giving a talk and hosting a meet-up for self-trackers, or people who collect data about themselves in the hopes to learning more about their daily activities and habits.

The company, which was founded in 2011, has raised close to a million dollars in financing through Kickstarter and from European investors. The device costs $279 and includes a year of free online photo storage. It comes with 8 gigabytes of storage, enough to hold up to 6,000 photos. Its battery can last for a few days before it needs a recharge. The company has already received 3,000 orders, and it hopes to begin shipping devices by late April or early May.

To start, the photos will not be available for sharing through social media, although eventually that will be included as a feature. When its users plug the device into their computers to charge, Memoto uploads the photos via Wi-Fi into a companion application where its wearers can review the photos of the day, or watch a time-lapse video of a series of images. The app teases out the sharpest images of the set and displays them in a scrollable timeline.

Users will also be able to search through their photographic archive by location and time of day, which are captured by a clock and GPS unit built into the device. Eventually, its founders say, they hope that the photos in Memoto can be paired with other tracking and data applications, to provide the photostream associated with that activity. For example, runners who use RunKeeper or Nike Plus could someday sync their Memoto data with their running data and watch a playback of the images they captured on their morning jogs. In addition, double-tapping the device sets off the shutter and that could also be programmed as a signal to send an image to a service like Evernote or a social networking site like Twitter.

Memoto’s camera hints at some of the issues that will emerge about privacy, ownership of data and social etiquette as automatic lifelogging devices like theirs, or Google Glass, become more prevalent in the wild. There are also larger questions about how secure the sensitive information captured on these devices will turn out to be, or what happens should these companies go out of business, potentially taking reservoirs of personal information captured over the years with them.

Memoto’s founders say they kept the design conspicuous, so that others would be aware of it presence and could inquire about it or request that its owner take it off while they are talking. There is no off switch or even a way to delete photos captured by the device.

Mr. Kallstrom believes that the protocol for when to capture and when to share will evolve naturally, as more devices like his migrate into the mainstream.

Lifelogging “sounds like a crazy idea,” he said. “But the whole world is starting to think about it and the potential that can come from it.”

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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