Paul May


12 December 2010

Photo+ is a device designed to facilitate collective storytelling projects. It allows a person to make an audio recording of their voice - a memory, story or description - and then "attach" that story to a physical photograph. At any time in the future, a person can simply place their photo back on Photo+, and their story will be re-played. They can visit a unique URL for their photograph, and hear their story online. Photo+ extends the capabilities of physical photographs with new technology, while preserving the centrality of a physical artifact to act of remembering.

To begin using Photo+ the user pushes a button and a unique tag is printed for them. The person affixes the tag to the back of their photo and places it on a stand.

The stand senses the presence of the photo and starts to record using a built-in microphone. The person speaks about the photograph - its content, its meaning - and then removes the photo from the stand. The recording of their voice is saved to a web service.

Whenever the person want to hear the audio again they can place the photo back on the stand and their recording will be re-played. They can also use their smartphone to scan the tag on the back of the photo - this will retrieve and play the recording.

Project Images

Photo+ ready to be used.
The user pushes a single button to begin.
A unique adhesive tag is printed and given to the user. They attach it to the back of their photograph, and place the photograph onto a stand
Photo+ recognizes the new tag, and propts the user to describe their photo, its contents, what it means. When the user stops talking, the audio is processed and saved to a remote server. A URL printed on the adhesive tag can be used to retrieve the audio at any time. The user is prompted to remove their photo, and the process starts again.
Photo+ being used to hear the story associated with a photograph.
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  • Paul May is a researcher, interaction designer, and technologist from Dublin, Ireland. He is currently working with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center on smart health applications.