Severe memory issues can have a devastating impact on quality of life for individuals with clinically diagnosed memory disorders that are related to acquired brain injury (for e.g., an accident) or neurodegenerative diseases (for e.g., Alzheimer's disease).
There's no cure for memory loss. In the past, neuropsychologists had to rely on fairly primitive devices (such as photo albums, diaries, and electronic reminders) to help patients cope with memory conditions. Technology is rapidly evolving, however, and providing new opportunities to help patients.
A notable development in the field is the SenseCam, a memory-enhancing camera developed by Microsoft Researchers. The SenseCam uses a wide-angle lens to document the patient's day--including places visited and people seen--creating visual "memories" through pictures. The camera, which's worn around the neck, takes a photograph every 30 seconds, when a movement is detected, or when a lighting change is detected.
At the end of the day, the patient downloads the images to a computer. These images create visual reminders of events from throughout the day--essentially, they're digital memories. These SenseCam images appear to stimulate the episodic memory of patients who view them. Unlike staged (or posed) photographs, which tend to change the nature of the very moment being captured, SenseCam images are recorded passively, with no conscious effort or intervention.
"Ultimately, we hope that SenseCam will have the potential to alleviate the onset of Alzheimer's disease in at-risk patients," said Microsoft Research.
[tags]digital memories,photographs,patients,memory disorders,neurodegenerative,diseases,alzheimer,neuropsychologists,sensecam,microsoft research,digital camera[/tags]