Memories lost might not stay that way any more thanks to a newly developed app called MEmory. With MEmory, individuals suffering from memory loss have the ability to keep track of their memories and sort through them at a later time using computers instead of their brains.
With the help of Blackstone LaunchPad and Urban Maps and AppsStudios, two resource centers for young tech entrepreneurs of Philadelphia led by Temple University and Blackstone, memory loss sufferer Thomas Dixon is now able to turn his personal catastrophe into a success.
Dixon suffered a traumatic brain injury in November 2010, which caused him to suffer from episodic memory loss. Prior to his injury, Dixon had dreams of becoming a child medical psychiatrist. When his memory became compromised, Dixon decided he could not responsibly treat patients.
“I tested the waters first with my system for recording my memories digitally,” Dixon said. “I travelled abroad for some time and then took classes at a community college. In the end, I got a master’s in Educational Psychology [from Temple]. I decided to study that because no one’s life would be at risk.”
In order to accomplish many of the goals he had prior to the accident, Dixon has been able to effectively outsource his memories to the cloud. However, he has met some limitations with the externalization of his memories with his digital system.
With Twitter, if Dixon outsources memories with his phone he is unable to search through them. Instead, he has to download his Tweets to a computer and sort through them that way. After spending years using a variety of different digital communication tools, Dixon has now developed a mobile app, MEmory, which has the ability to help someone keep track of memories.
“I’d wanted to make MEmory for years,” according to Dixon. “I used [Blackstone Launchpad] as a connection hub to put me in contact with others — they were a conduit.”
With this app, users have the ability to sift through their memories, allowing them to track down when and where a memory occurred, how they felt and anything else they would like to record about that memory. MEmory’s analytics allow users to track how they felt about different situations, people and places.
Dixon is able to bring his quest for a more sufficient digital memory tool alive because of Blackstone Launchpad.
Before Dixon consulted with the company, he spent a long time struggling to find a team to develop his vision that was not only reliable, but also cost effective. Julie Stapleton Carroll of Blackstone Launchpad was able to connect Dixon with Jumpbutton Studio, a group of young developers and designers who took part in Apps Studios and Urban Maps.
That program assists high schoolers, both develop and design technology-based civic startups, by giving them mentoring, training and opportunities for internships. A cofounder of Jumpbutton Studio, Nicodemus Madehdou, who is only 17, had been working alongside Blackstone Launchpad in order to incorporate the business and further develop market exposure. Madehdou is joined by Kevin Ngo and Matthew Auld at Jumpbutton, who are working on MEmory as well.
Madehdou supported MEmory because, “It was an interesting concept and I was curious to see where it would lead in terms of people having a tool that is built to their advantage.”
Dixon, with the help of Blackstone Launchpad at Temple, Temple’s Urban Apps and Maps and Jumpbutton Studio is able to turn his personal struggle with memory loss into a beneficial mobile app.
There is a growing amount of research that now suggests that a heavy reliance on technology could be impairing and damaging on our working memory. MEmory might just be as important for us as it is to Dixon.