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Wednesday, January 08, 2014, 12:40 pm PT (03:40 pm ET)

Hands-on: Narrative, the iPhone-compatible, wearable lifeblogging camera

There may not be a better place to show off a product such as the Narrative — a life documenting wearable camera that can automatically capture every moment — than on the floor of a chaotic major event like the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.

Narrative


With so much going on this week and so much to see at CES in Las Vegas, it would be easy to forget many of the things that happened throughout the day. That's the line of thought behind the Narrative, a tiny 5-megapixel camera with GPS that automatically snaps two photos per minute.

Martin Kallstrom, CEO and co-founder of Narrative, told AppleInsider on Wednesday that he's always had an urge to document his life, but going out of your way to snap a picture of a life event isn't always convenient or even possible. That's where the clip-on Narrative camera comes in.

"When I'm with my kids, I want to be 100 percent present with them, and that goes for everything I do," Kallstrom said. "I've been really annoyed in the past when you're having the best of times, you're hanging out at the beach — a warm, calm breeze in the air — and the thing about it is, 'How can I put this on Facebook?' I want to forget about Facebook, but I still have the urge to capture memories, so I want to separate that."

Narrative


The Narrative is essentially a camera with no buttons that automatically snaps pictures throughout the day. Users can interact with it through gestures, or can turn the camera off by putting it face down or in a pocket. To take a photo out of sequence, simply double-tap the camera face.

"We wanted to make a product that was adhering to the principle of calm technology, so it doesn't scream for attention or want you to focus on the product," Kallstrom said. "It enables you to do whatever you want and the device takes care of itself."

When snapping two pictures per minute, the Narrative is claimed to have a battery life of 2 days, over the course of which it will capture around 4,000 total photos. The device will also come with cloud storage for those images, as well as a dedicated application to organize pictures based on data such as GPS, image detection and more.

Narrative


Unsurprisingly, Kallstrom was indeed wearing his Narrative around CES, and showed us how it captured images from throughout his hectic day. From a flow of photos we were able to view keyframes through the day, and tapping on a keyframe would show the entire sequence attached to it.

Kallstrom sees other uses for the Narrative beyond so-called "lifeblogging," such as people who work in security, or maybe individuals who work in a profession where they feel unsafe and wish to be able to document their surroundings. He cited studies that show interactions between police and citizens are calmer for both sides if the police are wearing cameras.

The CEO also suggested that people with memory impairment could see benefits from the Narrative, allowing them to remember events throughout their day that may have slipped away.

Narrative


Narrative has been shipping to early backers since November in small shipments. Users can preorder now from the official website to get in line for shipping by the end of February 2014. Orders for immediate delivery are expected to begin in March.

The Narrative costs $279 and comes with one year of cloud storage. After the first year, users can pay $9 per year to continue using their cloud account. The Narrative application requires the cloud storage, while users who do not wish to use the service can download the images to their computer and sort through the manually.