Memory Machine (MeMa) 3.0

The Memory Machine (MeMa) project built upon the growing trend towards the application of technology to assist older people experiencing cognitive decline and poor memory. The multidisciplinary research team has worked with users to co-design a solution to capture and preserve people’s memories and identifies.
During the challenging times bought about by the Coronavirus pandemic, the team reflected upon planned activity and introduced changes to enable the project to continue. The original aim – to build and test a ‘physical’ memory machine – was put on hold to follow social distancing restrictions, and the team instead developed an ‘App’ for use on smart devices.
Plans to hold in-person workshops with users to test and explore their experiences of using the ‘App’ were arranged to take place online. Interviews with users were also held online to discuss experiences around uploading memories, concerns around privacy and security of personal data, and how memories could be gifted or shared.
During a workshop addressing gifting, participants selected a memory and used media to create a ‘gift’. Participants used various media types to support narratives of their gifts such as audio, music, images and text. Many viewed the creation of a gift as an opportunity to pass on treasured memories to loved ones. The experience of framing a memory as a gift promoted reflection and participants expressed emotions such as joy, regret, loss, and happiness.
Discussions about privacy and data protection highlighted sensitivity about rights and ownership. Participants made recommendations in relation to trust. For some participants, privacy was not a main concern when firstly depositing photographs into the MeMa. When the number of memories, and therefore information about people increased, participants did however express concerns about privacy and data protection. Participants approach to MeMa seemed to change when increased technology and a potential online aspect of MeMa was discussed. For instance, some participants aligned MeMa to that of a photograph album in the context of privacy and security, but expressed different opinions when cloud systems were introduced.
There is a need for further exploration – ownership of MeMa data, individual rights to MeMa data before and after death, legacy considerations, such as identifying a next of kin before cognitive decline starts and could/should data be held on trust? Overall, participants felt it was important to document their memories digitally and have a way to share and gift them to others, in both a meaningful and compelling format.
A third iteration of MeMa has commenced, following a successful proposal to Horizon. Activity to design a custom-built ‘physical repository’ for digital memories started on the first of March. Testing MeMa will take place later on this year within settings where it will be accessible to multiple users experiencing cognitive decline, care workers and family members, while preserving data protection and privacy of personal content.
The MeMa 3.0 team extends a welcome to Helena Webb (Horizon Transitional Assistant Professor) and Hanne Wagner (Horizon and Mixed Reality Lab, Early Career Researcher).

MeMa 2.0 – Call for Participants

The Memory Machine is an exciting ongoing Horizon funded project looking at how digital technology can support the preservation of memories. The Memory Machine app captures and records personal memories and then allows the user to contextualise these memories in a timeline with additional information, to create meaning behind the memory. This app has been developed with an interdisciplinary team of artists and experts in psychology, computer science, cultural studies, law and including, allowing different viewpoints of the experience to be considered, all with the end-user at the very centre of the design process. Such a device could be used in a variety of ways, including to support the memory and wellbeing of those with dementia and their carers, as a method to share memories with friends and family, as an end-of-life legacy, and as a tool for cultural heritage.

We want to explore the experiences of different potential users of the Memory Machine. We’re interested in different topics including the experience of uploading memories to the app, concerns around privacy and security when using such a device and exploring how memories may be gifted or shared with others through technology. We’ve already spoken with older adults who would feel comfortable using a device on their own, but now we want to hear from family members who may use this device to share memories with another family member or friend, and from older adults who may feel better supported if using the machine alongside someone like a spouse, carer, or family member.

If you think you may want to get involved, we’d love to hear from you! 

You need to be someone who would use the Memory Machine app with a family member or friend to share memories, or an older adult who would be supported by someone to use the Memory Machine app.  You need be based in or near to Nottingham to allow for delivery and collection of the Memory Machine and have access to a device that would enable you to join the online workshops.

There are three online workshops, lasting 1.5 hours each, that we’d invite you to join at a time suited to you. There will also be an opportunity to be included in an interview after the workshops have ended. You would receive a £60 voucher as inconvenience allowance for taking part in our workshops.

If you think you may be interested, or want to find out more, please contact Camilla.Babbage


Do you regularly use the Hopper Buses at the University of Nottingham?


 In My Seat is recruiting…

We have created a mobile application designed to be used on your journeys around the campuses, which allows you engage with your local surroundings, by linking you to various types of content, including local information and user-generated content, through your specific journey.

We are looking for a group of people to test the prototype application and provide feedback on the experience.

This will involve

  • An induction session to install the app on your phone
  • Using the app for at least a week on your Hopper bus journeys
  • A feedback interview or focus group (TBC)

You will be thanked for your time with a £20 high street voucher.

The studies will begin in the week commencing 13th May 2019. For more information, and to register your interest, please email Dr Liz Dowthwaite.

Please note that to take part you must have an Android phone running at least version 4.4 (KitKat).