Invention: Personal life mapper
* 19:00 21 November 2008 by Justin Mullins
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The trouble with personal information is that it grows and evolves as time goes on.
You collect an ever-increasing variety of documents, such as images, web pages and contact details. These are stored on a wide variety of devices like smartphones, PCs, and web servers belonging to companies such as Yahoo and Google.
Not only is it more difficult to collect all your information, but it is harder to organise and represent. Search engines that produce lists in return for even an advanced search entry are not really up to the task.
Georges Grinstein and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell say they can do better by displaying the results of a search as a 2D or 3D map, with related documents and information clustered together in space.
Life in 3D
The team have developed new algorithms to do the clustering, as well as making it possible for results to be superimposed on relevant background images or 3D objects. For example, work information might be attached to a picture of your office, and receipts from a trip to Paris to a 3D Eiffel tower.
The team claim these personal information maps are easier to use because they are more akin to the way our minds store and organise information.