On a cold, wet afternoon not long ago, Aron Reznick sat in the lounge of a home for the elderly here, his silver hair neatly combed, his memory a fog. He could not remember Thanksgiving dinner with his family, though when he was given a hint - "turkey" - it came back to him, vaguely, like a shadow in the moonlight.
Two years ago, Mr. Reznick, who has early-stage Alzheimer's disease and is now 82, signed up for an experiment intended to help people with Alzheimer's and other memory disorders. The concept was simple: using digital pictures and audio to archive an experience like a weekend visit from the grandchildren, creating a summary of the resulting content by picking crucial images, and reviewing them periodically to awaken and strengthen the memory of the event.
The hardware is a little black box called the Sensecam, which contains a digital camera and an accelerometer to measure movement. Worn like a pendant around the neck, it was developed at Microsoft's research lab in Cambridge, England.