Dr Ram Kumar

Dr Ram’s Blog – Autographer wearable tech

4th March 2016

Autographer for children with autobiographical memory problems

The Autographer is wearable tech: a wearable automatic camera that as the name suggests produces a visual autobiography of your day.

As worn by Stephen Fry. Need I say more.

OK, what’s this got to do with neurological conditions in children, because judging by the Autographer website, it seems to be mainly targeted at people who like to record distorted fish-eye lens pictures of the banal.

Well I’m into any wearable health technology for neurological treatment and rehabilitation in children.

There’s loads of it going on in the adult sector, and particularly for dementia. You know, tracking wandering elderly parents or those getting agitated by their loss of memory.

But it has not been thought through for children, since it’s usually assumed that a good parent is supposed to spend all their time attending to their child all the time, with no room for turning their back or leaving their child home alone for even a moment of respite.

This is not really practicable, particularly as children get older. Usually children become less dependent, and you would expect an 11 year old to be able to navigate their way to secondary school on the bus and get home without getting lost.

But you do get children with acquired memory problems, who cannot lay down memories of life events very easily or lose them more quickly. Not dementia as such, but problems associated with developmental anomalies or injuries to brain structures such as the hippocampus and its connections.

I see this in children with injuries such as encephalitis and radiotherapy. These children do not necessarily have global learning disability as such, but much more focal problems in specific areas.  They are often at mainstream school. Often there are behavioural and emotional problems associated with the memory difficulties.

So the idea we have tried with one child with an autobiographical memory problem is to use the Autographer. The goal is to see whether this improves overall well-being in the child and family, as well as see if actual autobiographical memory retention ability is improved. There is a case study published previously from Cambridge, where they used a fore-runner of the Autographer developed by Microsoft.

We’ve done some pre-intervention evaluations with the clinical psychologist, and we plan to do some post-intervention evaluations after a period of time.



The child and her carers reported continued use of the camera during the weekends, being limited by school attendance during weekdays. They found the camera easy to use. Her carers gave the device scores of 8 and 9 out of 10 for its ease of use and applicability.

Negative comments were made regarding the design (“too plain”) and requirement for a computer with appropriate skills. The carers said: “overall it has helped with her memory and communication”; and “the whole family has benefitted from her  using the camera, we are all less anxious because she is calmer as we can prove when she loses things”.

There was no change in the child’s BRIEF scale (executive dysfunction) before and after the provision of the Autographer. The child’s self-reported quality of life on the PedsQL improved from total score of 425 to 825, although parental PedsQL decreased from 75 to 50.


The Autographer wearable camera is a relatively affordable technological intervention that is feasible to use in everyday life to enhance rehabilitation and well-being of children and their carers. Although standardised scales do not identify improvement.

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