Holiday snaps, pictures of you when you were a kid, playing in the garden, with your relatives at Christmas, parties: precious memories. Ryan Coupe’s assertion is that we just don’t look at the pictures we take any more, so he invented Memico.
Memico puts your pictures together with music to create a multimedia experience, linking songs to specific memories in the same way that we associate certain events with sounds (or smells – slightly beyond the scope of this project). Ryan explains: “The main inspiration for this project was the fact that we are losing the physical element of retaining a memory, everything is becoming digital. My family has always loved sitting down with boxes upon boxes of photos and sharing stories and past memories with each other, but I have noticed that we don’t really do it often – the photos just sit there and collect dust – and its the same way now with digital photos, they just sit there on your computer and it’s only you that really ever sees them.
“I have noticed that memories can always be linked to music, you might listen to one track in 30 years time but it will take you back 50. So I decided to bring back the physical element of having a memory (using RFID tags) as well as using the digital screen to view photos and listen to music.”
Ryan used the popular Arduino board linked to RFID tags and Processing middleware to create a stable platform for Memico. RFID tags act as a trigger when the picture cards are placed into the reader, sending serial data to Processing, which then translates the tag into photos and music that are played on the screen.
A little more development and design industry input could see Ryan’s project commercialised. “My initial research just went from researching similar projects that were on the market today, like the Spotify Box and Past.fm, looking at different designs for the box, the cards, packaging and branding.
“I like to keep my options open. Over the last three years, doing interactive media design has shown me there is a lot out there that interactive designers are able to do and every day it’s changing.”
Ryan plans to travel, to accumulate more memories and push the boundaries. “I feel like there is something out there I haven’t found. I want to find something that I enjoy doing whether it is in design or something else.”