By:  Elaine   |  Posted: April 20, 2014   |  Updated: April 18, 2023

Problem Description

Lately, I have noticed that my short term memory is worsening.  It happens most often while at home.  I may go from one room to another to fetch something, and by the time I get there, I’ve forgotten what it is I’m fetching (or even that I am fetching anything).  This may happen at any time during the day, even while I am driving (and presumably focussing). The result is that the day becomes more stressful as it progresses, since I am constantly having to stop mid-way through tasks to remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing instead.

The idea came to me that a personal device, in the form of a small wrist gadget with a built-in app, would solve the problem. Using a fixed voice prompt to both activate the app and record the information (such as “Remind me in three minutes to…”), the wrist reminder app would, at the specified time, flash a small light, sound a unique alert sound, and prominently display on the gadget screen the requested reminder (“Turn on the porch light.”)

Current iPhone apps do not appear to allow this. The Siri voice app, for example, requires a touch-screen response after prompting “Siri, remind me in 3 minutes to ‘Turn on the porch light.’ ” Unacceptably complex for the intended purpose.

Hear this problem discussed below

from Aging in Place technologies: Co-creating the Future of Aging Meetup, April 16, 2014.

The group discussed this idea, as well as some possible “solutions”. And some related ideas for other possible “products”.

View Solutions from the Longevity Explorers

5 thoughts on “iForget”

  1. ditto

    I think this is a universal problem for anyone over 50,  and I have thought about similar solutions. I imagine that the new wearables (watches) from Apple / Google might have this type of functionlity. Or perhaps it could just be built into an attractive pendant … or a ring.

    • Opportunity for creation

      I think there is a real opportunity here. While various wearables certainly could incorporate something that addresses this issue I rather doubt they will. But it seems entirely possible to leverage existing technology to create something that reduces the impact of this problem.

      I would enjoy being part of a small group that sets out to create something. Perhaps others will like to join us? Please add your comment here if you want to be part of it.

      • Technology and solving problems

        I think there is great opportunity to leverage existing technology to solve real problems.  One approach is to focus the capabilities of an existing system to a particular use case.  Here, one reminder that is repeated until completed could be the use-case-focused form of a generalized reminders system.  

        I love this quote from Vint Cerf at the Silvers Summit at CES 2013:

            “Some people think that Silver Surfers don’t know how to use technology.  I have news for you. Some of us invented this stuff.”
        – Vint Cerf, Silvers Summit at CES 2013

        I’m involved in a start-up that uses consumer wearables and smartphones to help tech-savvy Boomers+ defend their independence.  I’m interested in how we can collaborate to help with iForget.  

        – kara

  2. mvp

    How about a simple pendant with a ‘record’ button, and a ‘minute’ button – click to add minutes / timer for the alarm. When the timer goes off, the recording is played.  So if you put soemthing on the stove, you set the recorder-timer to remind you to take it off. Or if you need something from the next room, you get in the habit of talking into the pendant as soon as you think of soemthing you need to do, even if it is only a few minutes away. Then you just play the recording when you get to the next room…