It’s fifty years since Philip K. Dick published the landmark science fiction short story, We Can Remember It For You Wholesale. The short story became a cult classic, inspired two Total Recall films and persuaded readers that holidays would be a thing of the past as we would simply take a pill to implant the ideal memories that we hadn’t had yet experienced. Science hasn’t quite worked out that way but today, tech is certainly helping us to record our memories in higher quality and with less effort than ever before.
Swedish start-up Narrative is a company focussed on ‘life-logging’ technology. Life-logging is the idea of recording everything from your day, from the first steps out of bed in the morning to when you finally put your feet up at night. It’s not a new concept, but the camera equipment and data storage required are now available to consumers at a cost reasonable enough for this practice to become widespread.
The Narrative Clip 2 camera is the second iteration of a project that started life as a crowd-funded project on Kickstarter in 2013, and this new version is a complete overhaul of what was a novel product. Available in 3 colours, red, black or white, the device itself when unpacked is just over 1.4” square. It looks much like a small box of mints but with the small camera lens in one corner being the only giveaway that there’s some electronics inside.
Discreetly placed on one side of the device are 4 LEDs which indicate the status of the clip including the battery charge. You can check the battery status at any time by firmly tapping on the device with the LEDs lighting up to indicate the percentage charge remaining. I needed to charge the device before using it but that was quick and simply involved attaching the included USB cable to the device and then to a power outlet or your computer if you’re away from home.
Once charged up, I downloaded the free Narrative app from the app store, created a Narrative account and paired the Clip to my phone using the app. There’s no right or wrong way to wear the device and Narrative have improved the back of the device to offer more options in how it’s mounted. I used the included simple U-clip, that’s sturdy and fixed the device firmly to my jacket and I wasn’t concerned about going outdoors as the device is weatherproof.
The Clip is always on, and when set-up will begin taking photos, every 30 seconds. The new 8MP camera shoots lovely clear, wide photos with great colours and it will also record HD video in 1080p. A simple double tap on the Clip will immediately trigger the video mode and the camera will record a ten second video.
The Clip will keep taking photos, but the Bluetooth connectivity means you can use the app on your phone as a remote control to snap specific events where you want yourself in the frame. The photos snapped by the Clip all appear in the Narrative app and you can download them to your computer. Rather than using your local storage though, Narrative give every user a free 10GB of space to store those photos in the cloud which can then be retrieved or shared with family or friends. The photos are transferred painlessly as soon as the camera is put on charge and connected to a WiFi network.
The Narrative app works well, and allows you to review your photos but can use some intelligence to file away what it thinks are less than good quality images. You can retrieve them if you want to, but I found the feature useful and incredibly accurate for getting rid of low-light or out of focus images.
I don’t think I achieved the promised battery life of 30 hours which should be enough for two days use, but perhaps that’s because I found myself shooting more video than usual and trying the remote features. There is a general question about how acceptable in society devices like the Clip are but Narrative have built in some useful privacy features so if you place the Clip face down or in a briefcase or handbag it goes to sleep.
More info: getnarrative.com | €229