A new virtual reality (VR) app lets a user rewatch and relive memories they recorded on a smartphone.
Developed by California-based company Wist Labs, Wist: Immersive Memories is an app that lets people save old “memories” and interact with their once-lived experiences on a smartphone, in mobile augmented reality (AR), or a VR headset.
Your memories — how you remember them pic.twitter.com/eRwIK6xYTF
— Wist: Immersive Memories (@WistLabs) February 21, 2023
On February 21, Wist Labs co-founder Andrew McHugh posted a video of a memory that he captured on Wist: Immersive Memories.
The fascinating clip, which shows McHugh interacting with his wife and baby, amassed over 900,000 views on Twitter.
The Experience of Being There Again
On Wist: Immersive Memories, a user can film videos of everyday moments. Then the app uses the sensors available in newer smartphone devices to capture the footage’s 3D information to turn any video recording into an immersive experience.
The iOS app of Wist: Immersive Memories uses the LIDAR scanner on newer iPhones to calculate the depth information of a scene in addition to the image and sound.
According to Wist Labs, the individual can then revisit real-life moments all over again inside a VR headset or using mobile AR.
The user can step back in time and relive the memory in an immersive way with a VR headset like Meta Quest 2, which supports AR in pass-through mode.
Alternatively, the recording can be overlaid and played back as an AR hologram over the location where the original memory was captured.
“Sometimes we try to capture these memories with photos or videos. These act as memory anchors, allowing us to travel back to those moments and the moments around the anchor,” Wist Labs co-founder Andrew McHugh writes in a Medium blog post.
“Photos and videos are great to look at, but they don’t give you the same experience as being there again.”
Social media users compared the app’s technology to the premise of an episode of the dystopian Netflix television series Black Mirror.
Black Mirror episode “The Entire History of You” is set in a future where everyone has access to a memory implant that records everything they do, see, and hear. This allows a person to re-watch their memories at any given time with chilling consequences.
Other viewers compared the VR app to the technology in the science fiction film Minority Report which allows Tom Cruise’s character to replay memories of his dead wife and child.
This reminds me of a scene from Minority Report. pic.twitter.com/nor4YF6SVO
— Peter Kuhar (@pkuhar) February 23, 2023
However, McHugh likened Wist: Immersive Memories to the pensieve in Harry Potter — a magical object that lets a user relive their memories or the memories of others.
“We’re at a beautiful moment on our timeline where 3D capture technology is being embedded into consumer phones via new sensors and software. The tech is early, but available,” McHugh writes.
“The right combination of this new tech can allow us to capture immersive memories: spatial moments in time that you can step back into. And, the right design and engineering can make this as easy as capturing a video. We can make a pensieve real.”
Wist: Immersive Memories is in development for iOS and Meta Quest 2, and soon on Meta Quest Pro. Users can join the waitlist for the app on Wist Lab’s website.