June 12, 2013

Idea: Person-based reminders

[Perhaps this already exists for jailbroken or Android phones; someone tell me if it does.]

It’s great that I can get location-based reminders. But how am I supposed to remember that thing I keep meaning to tell my wife, who I see in a variety of places? Or the question I keep meaning to ask my friend the next time I see him?

I’d like a reminders app that will remind me of those kinds of agenda items 30 seconds after I come in close proximity to a person, regardless of where we are.

That should be doable, right? (Obviously assuming they have a compatible location-aware device on them with permissions set to allow proximity awareness, etc.) Perhaps Apple could add it to Reminders, hooking into Find My Friends permissions.


This was the idea behind Brad Rhodes’ “remembrance agent” from the late 90s. It used facial recognition to figure out who a person was, then brought up attendant information along with any pending thoughts or conversations.

You can see a demo of it in an old Scientific American Frontiers program, still available online.

I dunno about through apps, but Android definitely doesn’t natively support this idea.
It’s an absolutely brilliant idea, though, and I definitely hope it does exist.

For Android it could conceivably hook in to Latitude. Sounds like it’d be super easy, and if both parties had to agree to it I don’t see how it would have the ‘creepiness’ factor so many people worry about.

No need for location-based info (which people may not particularly want to share with the NSA^H^H^Hyou); as this is an app for ‘reasonably close proximity’ as in ‘the same room’, Bluetooth would be my first suggestion. Especially inside buildings the common location-based smartphone stuff isn’t nearly exact enough; it’s not very useful to receive a trigger when you’re in the exact same spot but with ten floors between you. And this would even work with the other person carrying a dumb/notsosmart/intellectuallychallengedphone, as long as it’s got Bluetooth.

I work at an insurance company, and I brought up something like this for our Medicare members. We have a big problem with seniors forgetting to or refusing to take their medication. I was thinking that if a loved one could create a voice message to remind the member take their medication, it would help.

Looks like something you’d be able to do with Bluetooth Background Execution on an iOS device, similar to what iBeacon would do. Maybe I’ll cobble together a prototype when I’m not busy with my “day” job.

This does exist for Android in the “Trigger” app (third-party); they call it a “geo-fence.”