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ADD-Prosthetic

Synthetic short-term memory for the distracted
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For ADD grad students and undergraduates and business professionals: a little solid-state voice recorder, small enough to fit on a keychain, with a high-gain mic and a red 'last 5 minutes' button. When you hit the button, it saves the preceding five minutes of audio, which it has been recording, to flash as an MP3. Later, you can put the pieces together via USB and find out what you missed.

Problems:

To work ideally it would be in an always-on state, constantly pulling ambient audio and holding it in a FIFO buffer. Since I'm imagining something that has the form factor of an iPod Shuffle or smaller, I imagine you'd need to charge it daily by plugging it into the USB port of your computer. An on/off switch would solve the power issue, but it would mean that you'd have to turn the device on before entering the meeting/what-have-you. It would be better if you could just discreetly reach into your pocket and click the button, whenever you notice that you've zoned out.

Advantages:

* Cheap to manufacture (flash mem. can be very limited) * Not as cumbersome or blatant as a traditional voice recorder (even one of the new flash-based ones) * Easy to use. I really imagine just a single button. And a really good mic, that can pick stuff up even from your pocket.

cowcumber, Apr 21 2006

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       Local laws vary regarding recording without notice. Not that I care, but your mileage may vary.   

       I'd want buttons for last thirty seconds, last minute as well. This could optimize your storage.
normzone, Apr 21 2006
  

       What about a device that smacked them repeatedly about the head 10 - 20 years earlier and yelled "CONCENTRATE!".
gnomethang, Apr 21 2006
  

       Not as cumbersome as a traditional voice recorder? It sounds like it IS a traditional voice recorder, with the "feature" of only storing the last five minutes, and only when you remember to tell it to.   

       You'd probably be better off just...Ooh, look! Shiny! (clicks button)
Freefall, Apr 21 2006
  
      
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