MemoClip I

Today computerized memory aids correspond task to time: Such electronic calendars (e.g. organizers) tell a user when to do what. On the one hand, this decreases the users cognitive burden, as he does not have to remember tasks himself. On the other hand, it forces him to organize things he wants to be remembered by time, but this is not always appropriate for a task.

The main research question addressed in the MemoClip project is what other contexts are useful to help a human to remember things he want's to do. We found that location is a similar important context, although other context may be interesting as well: Poeple associate locations with activities they have to do, e.g. "supermarket" with "take butter with you" or "front door" with "take the CD for your colleague with you".

The MemoClip I (see also MemoClip II) is a small wearable location aware device. It actively reminds a user of tasks depending on his location. To facilitate this, the user can associate task information with place descriptions. When a user enters a place that has been associated with a task, the MemoClip beeps and displays the task information.

MemoClipII.jpg (13 kbyte)    wpe1.jpg (10128 bytes)

The configuration of the MemoClip is done using a PC based program where locations and activies can be associated (see figure). Information are downloaded to the MemoClip using wireless infrared communication.

More information can be found in

Michael Beigl: Memoclip: A location based Remembrance Applicance (PDF, 97kB), 2th International Symposium on Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing (HUC2000), Bristol, UK, Sept. 25-27, 2000 and Personal Technologies Vol. 4 No. 4 2000, Springer Press, pp. 230-234.

Technology and Location Beacon

Technically the MemoClip consists of a computer with integrated LCD display, a speaker and a infrared (IrDA) based communication module boxed in a Clip that can be pinned to a shirt. Via the IrDA data (SIR, 19.2kbit/s) communication interface the MemoClip receives control information (e.g. reminder configurations) from your PC, laptop or PDA but also location information from a location beacon. The location beacon is a small device (20x25 mm) attached to locations and constantly sends out a location information (either a 8,16 or 32 bit ID or a 40 byte RAUM location information containing (compressed) unique human readable location information) every 0.2-30 seconds (software adjustable).

MemoClip.jpg (12 kbyte)

The used physical IrDA coding with high current (>1A) 1.41 Ás pulses and the low data rate let us cover a large area with one beacon and avoiding the direct line of sight problem with IrDA data (by using reflected light). This combines the advantage of IrDA data (available in almost all mobile equipment as PDAs and laptops) with very low power consumption. Power consumption was also lowered by automatically switching off the beacon in total darkness. Depending on the battery (lithium coin cell see picture, 2x AA or 2xAAA), the environment, the coding and the sending frequency lifetime of a beacon ranges from one week to one year.

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