IBM project improves human memory

Recall will be assisted by new software, company claims

IBM researchers are working on software that may help jog users' memories.

Last week, the company unveiled software that uses images, sounds, and text recorded on everyday mobile devices to help people recall names, faces, conversations and events. Dubbed Pensieve, the software organises bits of collected information, stores them and then helps the user extract them later on.

Eran Belinsky, an IBM project leader, says: "Today, we're flooded with information. It's an information overload and we're not capable of handling it".

IBM's project is akin to one that Gordon Bell and other scientists at Microsoft Research have been working on for the past nine years. Bell, a longtime veteran of the IT industry and now principal researcher at Microsoft's research arm, is developing a way for people to remember different aspects of their lives.

Bell's project, called MyLifeBits, has him supplementing his own memory by collecting as much information as he can about his life. He's trying to store a lifetime on his Dell laptop. Collecting telephone conversations, music, lectures, books he's written and read and photographs he's incessantly taken, Bell is amassing a great database of his life.

Belinsky says IBM, while not part of the MyLifeBits project, is developing software that could help organise all of that information.

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