Microsoft Research’s “Technology Heirlooms” are cool time capsules for the digital age

As cloud services have become increasingly popular in the last couple of years, one has to wonder what will happen to all our data a generation from now. Of course we all have excuses for not backing up which only makes the “Technology Heirlooms” project from Microsoft Research UK that much more relevant.

Richard Banks, an interaction designer from the Socio-Digital Systems research group, has just posted these videos of “The Backup Box” and “Digital Slide Viewer” concepts which were presented at Microsoft Research’s TechFest 2010 earlier in the year. The prototypes aims to help people backup and later reminisce memories from Twitter and Flickr respectively.

Even though there’s no sound, the videos pretty much speak for themselves.

However impractical these concepts may be, it’s refreshing to see real physical metaphors applied to digital backups. The Digital Slide Viewer takes the idea even further by making the retrieval process as much of an experience in itself than the information it backed up.

You can read more about these particular projects at Richard’s blog here.

5 insightful thoughts

  1. I like the concept of the backup box though I feel that the digital slide viewer is quite impractical: the way you have to insert different slides to navigate different slides of photos and also the tilting part to go to next or previous photo is quite annoying (seeing the photos rotating around).

    In my opinion, a digital photo frame is much more elegant (of course it has to have the backup capability of these prototypes).

  2. As much as I love the time capsule concept, I would never consider my twitter tweets as memories per se…

  3. say you may want to look back at what you tweeted 20 years ago…. which means this box has to be operational for 20 years? how long will be warranty be? 1 year?

  4. I wonder what magical future hardware they have invented to use as components if these things are intended to be used over a 30 year period.

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