Make memories live on

By Christine Davis

When Keith Wells’ uncle passed away a year ago he found himself in possession of all his old black and white photos and many items he had collected in his travels.

“He was the genealogy person in the family,” Wells says, adding that: “Few of the photos had names or dates on them – and the items had no stories connected to them at all. No context whatsoever.”

That’s when the idea came to Wells that “there was a need for an app that can actually add stories and memories to items. Thus, the Imbueapp was born.”

Using a smartphone camera image, Imbueapp captures your precious items and remembers them using machine learning from Google Cloud Vision API. Users then add audio or video to the items.

“People are getting very good at scanning and saving family photos, but I think that adding stories and memories to actual items could bring some significant peace of mind to people,” the founder suggests. “Think of any item that has been handed down, like books, musical instruments, art work, furniture, etc. The items don’t have to be expensive either. I have some water colours from the kids that have been imbued and they might be the most precious items I have.”

The app, which is free to download and try, uses machine learning from Google. “A user can essentially turn any item into a QR code, so that in the future, someone will be able to ‘scan’ the item and find the associated audio or video memory that is attached to it,” Wells explains.

If you want to receive a long-term link to your files, one that will remain valid for 25 years, Imbueapp offers the ability to add Pay-Forward storage to your account. You can choose to add between five and 99 items at various, affordable prices, to the Google storage for a generation “so you can have some satisfaction knowing that these memories have been preserved.”

While any object could be imbued with a memory, Wells suggests thinking outside of photos and objects as well. “Think of adding a story directly to a recipe card belonging to your mother or grandmother. If you had the ability to actually have them explain the recipe, and why it is significant to the family, imagine how wonderful it would be for a distant grandchild to ‘extract’ grandma’s memory from the card at some future date – in some future kitchen!”

Wells suggests families take a weekend afternoon to walk around the house identifying special items and making memoires with them. “Use your voice or the voice of a parent or grandparent. I think young people have an obligation to help make this happen – for future generations.”