In the late 1990s, Professor Gregory Abowd of Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing began developing a tool to allow people to collect and reflect upon memories over a long period of time. Motivated by his father’s collection of 30 years worth of videos, Abowd wanted to create something that assisted in annotating and searching through videos to create short memories.
Around 2002, he began using this for his own family memories and made a discovery while watching one of the videos. His oldest son, who was then 5 years old and already diagnosed with autism, demonstrated stark differences in behavior and communication between videos at 18 months and others at 26 months.
Amazed by what he saw in the videos, Gregory began to consider other more serious applications of this memory-capturing tool. In the coming years, it would become a key autism research initiative for Abowd and others at Georgia Tech.