Portable camera helps trigger memories for Alzheimer's patients

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Forgetting details of their day-to-day lives is a problem that plagues sufferers from many neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a new digital camera developed by Microsoft Research Cambridge can capture images at regular intervals to act as an ongoing reminder of the patient’s actions.

Patients with memory disorders could forget to take the pictures themselves, so the camera captures the images automatically every 30 seconds. The camera also includes light intensity and light colour sensors, a body heat detector and a multiple-axis accelerometer, which can also trigger the camera to capture a new image.

The camera is portable, and includes a wide-angle lens that provides a large field of view to capture everything within the patient’s view.

The SenseCam was initially trialled at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, UK, where it demonstrated a higher success rate than previous methods of helping patients to recall important events, such as written diaries.

The device is now entering a series of further research projects, funded by Microsoft Research, at six institutions in the UK and North America, so explore the efficacy of SenseCam in more detail.