Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually worsens over time. Unfortunately, one of the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s, and one that sticks around, is short-term memory loss, which could lead to those afflicted with the disease to forget their loved ones. Even though it’s far from a cure, Samsung released an app that could help early-onset patients.
Called Backup Memory, the app was the result of work done by Samsung Electronics Tunisia (SETN), 3SG BBDO, and the Tunisian Alzheimer’s Association. Using Bluetooth, the app can connect to nearby devices and display information about nearby people, so long as the device is, at most, 33 feet away from other devices. In short, Backup Memory serves as a memory stimulator for those exhibiting early symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
According to Dr. Meriam Labidi, a geriatrician and a member of the Tunisian Alzheimer’s Association, the app has been received with open arms. “We’ve had some Alzheimer’s patients try out Backup Memory, and we’ve seen good results,” said Labidi. “With Alzheimer’s, what is lost is lost forever. Through cognitive stimulation, patients can hold onto their memory for a little longer and slow down Alzheimer’s devastating effect.”
Certainly a move in the right direction, but not the end of the road for the app. Azer Jaafoura, a marketing manager for mobile products at SETN, and his colleagues are working on adding new features to Backup Memory, such as an updated user interface and a feature that would allow a smartphone to use its GPS signal to provide family members with the real-time location of their loved ones.
“Backup Memory is not exactly a technological breakthrough, but it is definitely a good use of existing technology,” said Jaafoura. “We are satisfied with the progress so far, but we’d like to do more. There is so much good you can do with technology, and I’d like to think that we’re just getting started.”
Backup Memory is a free download through Google Play and is available in two languages: English and French.