Limited Memory

How many memories do you think are stored on your phone? Which ones would you actually miss if they were deleted? What if you only have 9 minutes to document your life?

Limited Memory is an audio recording device which requires users to be more intentional about the memories they keep and the ones they let go of. The device stores up to three audio recordings of three minutes that degrade over time unless the user chooses to ‘sustain’ the memory by playing the recording or let go replacing it with a new recording.

The goal of Limited Memory is to challenge our reliance on digital storage to help retrieve the past, encourage people to process their memories, and explore the idea of memory degradation over time. This concept came about through conversations that the team had about scarcity, physicality, rituals, the passage of time, and the stories we tell ourselves about the past.

Limited memory is composed of a base station and three recording boxes. The base station prototype was built with wood panels, an Arduino Uno, speaker, and two buttons. The recording box prototype was built with wood and acrylic panels, a 3D-printed antenna, an Arduino Nano 33 IoT, NeoPixel LED strip, a photoresistor, and recording LED. A laptop running p5 recorded the sounds and facilitated communication between separate devices through bluetooth and serial connections.

This project was created over the course of 6 days during the Physical Computing course.