Carly Simmons
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Memory Mapper: Reflections, Despite Distractions


Memory Mapper

A product and app that creates moments of reflection in a world of mental distraction, particularly for individuals with social anxiety.

Type: Industrial Design / UX Design

Context: Memory, Lifestyle, Woodworking, App Design

Guidance: Aysé Birsel



I live with social anxiety, which makes it difficult for me to fully engage in conversations that trigger stress. My stress overrides my ability to comprehend and encode information, that many times I leave conversations feeling like I missed valuable moments. Memory Mapper eases the personal pressures we place on ourselves to absorb everything at once by giving us a second chance to reflect. The user can record 10 seconds of audio at moments they feel most valuable, and those moments will be sent to their phone for later retrieval and reflection. 


Use Case:

When users find themselves in a high stakes scenario such as a formal interview, conflict resolution, or critique, they can squeeze the Memory Mapper device during moments of high stress to capture fragments of their conversations. The device is not meant to record entire conversations, but to help people with anxiety gain control over their racing thoughts. The worry stone form gives the individual an outlet to release excess stress, and at moments when they sense their anxiety is taking over their ability to fully listen, they can capture a few seconds of the conversation. These fragments are sent to the user's phone where they can be reviewed and piece together with guidance from the mobile application of the same name.

Audiences with social anxiety, stressful work environments, and/or memory loss will find benefits with the service of Memory Mapper and the second chances the product and application give them to reflect and learn from the moments of their day that are most important, but that may cause the most stress. This tool has the power to form better listeners, better workers and co-workers, and overall happier, more engaged individuals,


Mobile Application:

Memory Mapper's mobile application gives users the opportunity to review their downloaded conversation fragments and reflect on them using sketching, writing, and photos to accumulate notes about those moments. They can save their notes to "playlists" as a way to group information together and make connections between events. Recording and reflecting is a memory exercise that can assist users in determining what parts to their conversations with others give elevate their stress so they can learn to better confront these situations in the future. Watch the animation below to see how users can interact with Memory Mapper's mobile app. 


Prototypes and Materials:

The material process of the Memory Mapper worry stone began with plasticine and ended with oak. Early forms contained a hand strap for holding the device and later forms lost this feature and implemented grips within the form, such as finger indentations to increase ease of use. To create the final model in oak, I used forstner drill bits to create a incremental stair of drill holes that could be sanded to a smooth surface.