Designing a Ubiquitous Audio-Based Memory Aid

Designing a Ubiquitous Audio-Based Memory Aid

Shwetak N. Patel (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), Khai N. Truong (University of Toronto, Canada), Gillian R. Hayes (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), Giovanni Iachello (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA), Julie A. Kientz (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA) and Gregory D. Abowd (Georgia Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-871-0.ch061
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The ephemeral nature of sound can be problematic when people cannot recall something they heard. Motivated by everyday conversational breakdowns, a continuous, near-term audio buffering application named the Personal Audio Loop was designed to recover audio content from the recent past using the mobile phone platform. The investigation of the potential usefulness in everyday life, the level of ubiquity and usability required of the service, and the social and legal considerations for long-term adoption is presented. The methods used include a controlled laboratory study, in-situ diary and eventcontingent experience sampling studies, examination of legislation, and deployment of the technology over several weeks.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Personal Audio Loop: Mobile memory aid application buffering audio on mobile phone.

Deployment Study: A study that asks people to use a new piece of technology as part of their daily lives and activities for some extended period of time and typically includes interviews, surveys, and other means of measuring user response to the technology.

Event-Contingent Sampling: A variation of the experience sampling method in which users are probed upon the occurrence of a particular event.

Audio Buffer: Some quantity of constantly recording audio that can be accessed for a set period of time before being deleted automatically.

Experience Sampling: A set of techniques to capture people’s behaviors, thoughts, or feelings as they occur in real-time, also known as a pager study.

Usability: The effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction with which specified users of a particular piece of technology can achieve specified goals. Often considered a basic requirement of all new interactive applications and sometimes regulated using ISO9241 11.

Memory Aid: Tool or other support designed to augment human memory or correct for human memory error.

Usefulness: As applied to mobile applications, usefulness has to do with the specific utility of that application in the user’s life. Often, this level of usefulness directly impacts the adoption of the mobile application or device and may be measured by deploying the technology to such users.

Diary Study: A study that asks people to keep a diary or journal of their interactions with a computer system, any significant events or problems during their use of a system, or other aspects of their working life.

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