Whenever You're Ready

Made by mmguo, Fallon Creech and Emily Wu

FILE masks painful memories until the user recognizes their want to realize them in their full truth, allowing the user to learn from that experience.

Created: February 25th, 2019



Masking painful memories before the user is ready to revisit them, FILE acts as a digital application that prepares people, through few relieving steps, to overcome their harshest memories and encourage them to learn from that experience. These memories may consist of photos, text messages, screenshots, and social media engagements, and they become archived in FILE’s collection after direction from the user to “FILE it away.”

FILE utilizes a motion-activated system with facial recognition technology, preventing non-authorized users from accessing personal memories. When a user feels mentally prepared to acknowledge a memory, they are directed to a screen of blurred images and an unlocked icon positioned in the center, signifying both access to the user’s personal account and readiness for observing painful memories. A photo gallery with false images arranged on a timeline subsequently appears, indicating the first step of overcoming the memory. Detecting the motion of the hand, FILE follows the direction and pauses on a falsified memory, which helps to catalyze the forgetting process. The system prompts the user with a question: Are you ready? Or FILE it back away? The indication of readiness reveals the memories in full detail and unaltered and leads the user back to the photo gallery.



Our prototype was created three-folds, including a (1) PowerPoint presentation intertwined with video, (2) crafted user interface navigated through InVision, and (3) LeapMotion-powered physical demonstration. This format allowed us to maximize our storytelling potential by creating touchpoints for the (1) introduction of the project (2) showcase of the ideal use case and (3) depiction of live functionality. 

Imagine if you had to take back a moment if you wanted a memory erased from your digital footprint. This fragment of the internet can be a photo, a tweet, or a post you made. You can FiLE it away, and when you're ready, you can revisit that memory. And when you're ready to revisit the memory, learn from your experience and accept it, you can unFile it, and the image will appear back in the place where you first stored it. 

The idea is that forgetting something is difficult. It's hard to fully erase a memory. That's why we developed an application for facilitating forgetting in a different way. Instead of forgetting, this application pivots around the idea that acceptance is the key to forgetting. Pushing away a certain memory never helps you forget, it, in fact, makes remembering worse and forgetting even harder. FiLE gives you a safe place to store those 'bad' memories and gives you time to reflect on past mistakes that may have been made. When you're ready, you can go ahead and unFiLE this memory.



Our precedent for creating this project started with constructing a solid foundation for the notion of forgetting. We analyzed what it means to forget, why we want to forget, what we want to forget, and known rituals for forgetting. To first understand the types of memories we tend to forget, our immediate instinct was to examine the lingerings of visual memory in the context of the digital space. We noted that simply seeing certain digital photos, and other public digital traces of memory was enough to warrant the forgetting process of certain memories. These memories were typically denoted by intense emotions, whether that be a sadness from a breakup or a feeling of disgust attached to a particular moment of inaction. To help mask these memories in a private manner, we developed a service to help people hide away their past grievances or mishaps by creating a digital photo album, or FiLE, which could store digital memories from a multitude of social media platforms. This helped to create a safe space where people could privately sift through an archive of past experiences that they may not want to entirely remove from the digital space. This hoard-like ability was created from the realization that our growth is dependent on our past bad memories, and that the natural process of forgetting is rooted in remembering certain positively toned aspects of our memories. Thus, we enable the user to sift through their past experiences through a rose-colored lens. Through analysis of accredited documentation surrounding the topic of memory, we came to learn that forgetting is a failure in the process of recall, either recalling the memory in and of itself or of cues that are tied to the memory. To help catalyze the process of forgetting, we found several known methods to help create an obstacle in the process of recall. Of these methods, we were able to hone in on several strategies, including retroactive interference, which is known to be a method involving storytelling through a different lens, skewing the context of the memory to form a new interpretation, and thus new version, of the original memory. We were able to mimic this phenomenon by enveloping the stored memories with machine learning based alterations which help to remove a select number of the identified object from the photo. Thus, we created a service that would allow people to accept their bad memories for their entirety at a later point in time when they felt they had past the hurdle of that particular lapse of pain. 



In the creation of our process, we initially wireframed the product using hand-drawn sketches, which led to flushed out digital wireframes in Sketch. This allowed us the opportunity to visualize the user interface and user flow with already existing UI, to create a cohesive story through animated transitions in inVision. Our video interview allowed us to capture the intention of our project through posed questions engaging an outside source. Our physical demonstration was created to be used via LeapMotion to detect the user so that they could securely and privately access their past memories. The LeapMotion would be able to sense the user’s hand input and swipe or select certain buttons according to its received haptics. For the purpose of demonstration, we found a PowerPoint was found more effective in communicating our idea of an ideal use case. 


Open Questions and Challenges

- What are the consequences of removing a digital entity on others?
- Can we communicate the memory automatically (i.e. without manual input) to FiLE?
- What if the alteration to the digital memory made the memory more painful (e.g. via color)?



Looking back on our project, we continue to question how the system of FiLE is able to re-contextualize certain aspects of the image, namely which features it chooses to alter. We also would have liked to flush out our demo to the extent that a live demonstration could be performed using any member of the class. Our intention also involved face recognition, which we were able to address with hand recognition via LeapMotion. We continue to make this project a learning lesson, to be able to understand what we as team members are capable of and what ideologies surrounding responsivity are fundamental to capturing user understanding. We were inspired by classmates to pursue ideas using various technologies not limited to digital interfaces and scenes which classmates were able to paint to develop a well-rounded narrative.


Attribution and References

Six Basic Emotions. ManagementMania. Web. 08 Mar 2019. 

Ph.D. Kraft, Robert N. Why We Forget, Psychology Today. Web. 08 Mar 2019. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/defining-memories/201706/why-we-forget

The Process of Forgetting. Lumen. Web. 08 Mar 2019. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-psychology/chapter/the-process-of-forgetting/

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48528 Responsive Mobile Environments

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This 15-week course introduces students to responsive mobile environments and encourages them to explore speculative terrains that intersect art, technology and design and space. Iteratively, intro...more

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FILE masks painful memories until the user recognizes their want to realize them in their full truth, allowing the user to learn from that experience.