Visual summaries augmenting memory recall of repetitive actions

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Tran, Quan Tu
Mynatt, Elizabeth D.
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Throughout a typical day, people complete myriad tasks and activities such as locking the front door as they run errands around the neighborhood, preparing meals and drinks, taking care of family, pets, plants, and so on. In managing the progress of these everyday activities, people may nd themselves needing to recall what they have already done. In this research, I explored how to design an unobtrusive memory aid that reduces the cost of distraction and general multitasking by fluidly supporting memory recall of repetitive actions. I built the Cook's Collage as one example system that captures close-range photographs of ingredient additions during everyday home cooking to display as an ongoing visual summary of the open-ended activity. I contribute this augmentative technology as a memory aid in contrast to more directive, obtrusive, and yet constrained systems that seek to remove human error through automation and scripted guidance. I explored how to evaluate memory augmentation by simulating real-life situations of multitasking and interruptions that distracted cooks participating in my experimental study. From examining their behavior and attitudes with and without the Cook's Collage, I demonstrated that 1) Visually summarizing activities by capturing items used within the activity in the same physical surroundings can provide sufficient context in recalling memory for actions, 2) User interaction with accurate memory support that complements and supplements rather than interferes with memory practices, activity constraints, and environmental surroundings can effectively augment memory recall, and 3) Barriers to using provided memory support can include unawareness of memory need and predilection to own memory ability and routine.
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