Loci Memory Palace

We are proud to announce a mixed reality headset version of our Loci product, called Loci Memory Palace.  Loci lets you link your ideas in augmented or virtual reality, improving recall and links (associations) in your mind.  It runs on Windows Mixed Reality headsets with your Windows 10 PC.

It is available for download on the Windows Store from Microsoft here.

Click this link for info on the Windows 10 mixed reality home.

The headsets are available from HP, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, Acer and others listed below, for an average of about $300 for a headset.  These mixed reality headsets use cameras to sense your surrounding area and position you in a room from the inside out, requiring much less setup than most VR headsets.

  • Microsoft Mixed Reality Overview link
  • Amazon mixed reality headset example link
  • Microsoft Store mixed reality headset page link

We provide a virtual reality location for your ideas and thoughts called the Memory Palace, so you can use the method of loci with immersive virtual reality mind maps.

Updated Voice and Gaze Commands

We updated the set of commands available in the mixed reality memory palace version to reflect capabilities available in that version, the new picture showing commands is below.

Revised MR Voice+Gaze Commands

 

Usage in head set with controllers

Use your hand controllers to jump to locations in the Memory Palace, look at a location on the floor and your cursor will follow, then press forward on the controller joy stick to jump to that location.

Use the voice command “add node” to place nodes in the palace rooms.  Put in several nodes, one for each thought, then look look at the first node and say “link this”, then look at the next node so the cursor is on it, and say “to that”, and you will see a link appear between them.    Gaze at one of the nodes to put the cursor on it, and say “select” to move the node, and the links will update with the node.  You are building a mind map graph where the nodes have 3D locations in the memory palace.

Requirements

This version requires Windows 10 Creator’s build, a compatible Mixed Reality Head Mount Display and Controllers, and ideally a graphics card such as NVidia 1060.  Most commands use gaze and voice, but moving around in the MR scene is done with the Controllers similar to the way you move and rotate in the Cliff House starting scene.  Controllers are usually sold with Mixed Reality headsets.

Improvements

With the Creator version of Windows 10, the Load and Save File Picker has better functionality, you can now change the name of the saved file, and both “load graph” and “save graph” come up more reliably with a file picker.  Evidently these bugs were fixed in the required separate Onedrive Windows File Picker service.

Known Bugs

The first time you run Loci Memory Palace, you should run it until it shows a dialog box asking to allow voice input, use controller to select “yes” or say “yes”, then you will see the memory palace scene, and then exit to the Windows cliff house (HoloShell) by saying “go to start”, then look at the Loci window and say “select” to return back to Loci.

By doing this the Microsoft voice recognition service will work correctly, it seems to provide a reset for it to work after that point.  We are still tracking this one down, as it did not happen in earlier versions of Loci.

The HoloShell / Cortona reserved voice command word “select” is not always available while running our app for some reason.  It is the default Windows 10 way to select nodes, by gazing so the cursor is on the node and then saying “select” to pick or place a node.  Alternatively you can try our voice commands “pick node” and “place node” when moving nodes when select is not available.

Loci Voice and Gaze Commands

You use Loci by saying commands and looking at nodes or locations in the scene.  Some commands are done only using your voice, and some include where you are looking, your center of gaze.

It is important to understand that you use your gaze to identify a node that you act on the node with your voice.    This is gaze-based selection combined with voice actions (commands).

Generally commands to change the graph are just voice, and commands to change nodes or links include you focusing your gaze onto a node, and seeing the donut cursor on that object.

Our demonstration video, six minutes long, provides examples of using voice and gaze commands: Demo Video

The image of Loci commands in this post is also included as the default image for every node created in Loci.  It appears when you start Loci as part of the default scene.

Basic movement of a node is done by looking at it to place the cursor, and saying “Select” which Windows HoloShell uses as a voice command like a left mouse button select, or using an air tap with your index finger.  Once you select a node, it locks onto your center of gaze and you can walk and move your head to place it.  If you have it where you want it, say select or tap again to place it.  It will be locked there for subsequent graph layout, since your chosen locations are very important for using Loci.

When starting  out, a very useful voice-only command is “Load Example” which will load an example mind map graph describing the Loci application.

The primary voice commands to use are:

“add node” creates a node at your center of gaze and allows you to use voice to name it and gaze to place it. If you look in mid air, it creates a new unattached node. If you look at an existing node, it adds a new node and conveniently also adds a link to it, and then Loci allows you to name and place the newly added node.

You can add links between nodes by focusing your gaze on a node and saying “Link This” then moving your gaze to another node and saying “To That” and then a link between them will appear.  You can delete a link by saying “Unlink This” while gazing at the first node, and then “From That” while gazing at the second node.

“delete node” deletes the node you are looking at (cursor follows gaze onto node).  This includes deleting links to that node.

“undo” allows you to undo a prior editing action, such as deleting a node

“select” is a HoloLens standard voice command that is equivalent to a finger tap for selecting anything, in Loci it allows you to say “select” when gazing at a node and then place it with your gaze.  When you have the node in location, you say “select” again.

Say “name node” when you look at a node and Loci will ask you to provide a short name using your voice for dictation, and change the node name.

“capture image” will use the camera to capture what you are looking at, create a node with this image shown below, and allow you to place it.

A very useful set of commands are those for copy and paste.

You center your gaze on a node and say “Copy Node”.  This will take all the properties of a node and put them in the copy buffer in a text form.  Then you can look at a place in open space and say “Paste Node” and a copy will appear one meter in front of where you were looking.  You can also focus your gaze on an existing node, and say the same command “Paste Node” and it will update that node with the properties of the node you have previously copied (Color, scale, name, etc.).

Sometimes you only want to paste certain properties.  So you do the command “Copy Node” as usual, and then focus your gaze (cursor) on another node and say paste with a property name, such as “Paste Name” or “Paste Image” or “Paste Color”.

 

Method of Loci

Cicero Denounces Catiline by Maccari

The method of loci is a memory technique used in ancient Greece and Rome where you imagine a building, and mentally place the items you must remember at locations in the building. Then later you recall these items as you mentally walk through the building and view them in the locations you pass. As this New York Times article on the method of loci describes, the first known published description of this method was in Rhetorica ad Herennium in 80 B.C.  Cicero also describes this method in his work De Oratore.

A study of the method of loci published in March 2017 by scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, the Donders Institute, and Stanford University on the effectiveness of the method of loci showed this technique results in significant recall improvement across time periods of twenty minutes, one day, and four months. Even after four months, the group using the method of loci had more than a 20% level of improvement in recall over the active and passive control groups.

The study included using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of the subjects, and then comparing their before and after MRIs with memory athletes. They found the method of loci subject’s connections across brain centers came to resemble the memory athlete’s. In their study they show with a figure of the brain’s MRI connections the noticeable difference in connections between memory athletes and controls and indicate this improvement from using the method of loci may result from improved connections (links) across brain areas.

Using Loci, you link in your mind. You place nodes with camera or file images, web links, or text at locations in your home and office. You can link them to form mind map graphs or you can leave them unattached as a form of pinned note. In either case you have placed them in a location, reinforcing your memory of them for recall at any time, even when not using the Loci application. Furthermore, you can share your mind map graphs with others, taking the method of loci from one person’s internal thoughts to an external visualization that can be communicated digitally with other contributors.

Keith Boesky of ODG emphasizes AR Data Visualization

At AWE 2017 Keith Boesky states, “This is a huge one for me, Data Visualization. How much more do you see when you go to a 3D model on your screen than a flat screen?  How much more are you going to see when you’re able to put your glasses on with full awareness of what’s around you, with full awareness of everybody in the room with you, and be able to walk amongst your data set? I think that’s huge! I think it is going to change things as much is the spreadsheet did.

 

Loci Features Explained

This post describes important features of Loci, and compares Loci features with related work by others to give you a better idea of what Loci does.

First, Loci supports mind map interaction on graphs.  So it is easy to add a node to the graph in augmented reality, but it does not have to have a central node.

In Loci, nodes have locations.   If you place a node somewhere in your room, it will show up there next time you view that graph.  This is not the same for the other mind map applications, they will load the same mind map, but it is not anchored to a place in the real world.

 FeatureLociHolo MindHolo Mind VectorScapeHopHolo GraphMnemosyne
_URLLinkLinkLinkLinkLinkLink
Price$19.99FreeFreeFreeFree$2.99
In App PurchasesNoNoYesNoNoNo
MS HoloLensXXXXX
MS Mixed RealityX
Google ARCoreX
Google Tango (Deprecated)X
Apple iOS ARKit
MindMap InteractionXXXX
Graph Multiple StructuresXX
Graph Links and NodesXX
Control GazeX
Control TouchX
Control VoiceXX
Control GestureXXX
Input TypedXXX?
Input Voice DictationXX
Edit Undo / RedoXX
Edit Copy / PasteXX
Drive File Load / SaveXAppAppAppX
File Data FormatJSON???Graphml, csv
File Image Formatjpg, pngjpg, pngjpg, png
Force Directed LayoutXX
Spatial Map Locations (Loci)X
Directional LinksXX
Bilboarded Node DataX
Hyperlink NodesXX
Edit LinksXX
Take Picture as NodeX
Edit NodesXXXX10 elements

AWE 2017 Notes

From 31 May to 2 June the Augmented World Expo was held at the Santa Clara Convention center.  There were a lot of interesting things there, and we are providing some notes here.

Videos of AWE 2017 talks are available on the AWE page on Youtube.

Of course, we think one interesting thing was our booth 359 showing off our new product, Loci, available for HoloLens now in the windows store.   We showed visitors how their notes, ideas, and analysis can be placed in the real world, to increase understanding and recall as they solve their problems.

Congratulations to Microsoft HoloLens for winning the Best Headworn Device award, as selected by the IEEE Standards Association!

I liked the talk by Tony Parisi of Unity.  Tony worked in the early days of VR, on the VRML standard.  Two billion devices have unity player installed.  He gives a good survey of what is going on across companies in mixed reality.  Mentioned WebAR, with the world as your QR code.

https://youtu.be/NaPY_9l6JGs

There are some good ideas for interaction from Meta, which makes the Meta 2 headset

Stefano Baldassi on Meta interaction https://youtu.be/b2PgbMs2UVA

We will add more to this blog post as we assess the talks…

 

Loci Booth at AWE 2017 JUNE 1-2 THU-FRI 10am – 5 & 3pm

Join us for demos of Loci at the Augmented World Expo (AWE) June 1-2 at the Santa Clara, CA Convention Center.

The Expo hours are from 10 am – 5 pm Thursday and 10 am – 3 pm Friday.

We will be in booth 359.

Experience for yourself how leveraging the method of loci with 3D mixed reality interaction and mind maps (graphs) maximizes your ability to analyze, plan, decide, and act.

AWE 2017 Web Site
Get App
Demo Video (6 Min 140 mb)

Loci Available on Windows Store for HoloLens

Buy Loci On Windows Store

On April 15, 2017 we published version 1.0 of the Loci universal windows application for HoloLens on the Windows Store.  Loci lets you create mind maps  in mixed reality where you place the mind map nodes in your home or office in locations that have meaning to you.   Using locations in this way, as a form of method of loci, where you associate your thoughts and ideas with locations, has been shown to increase your recall of them later.

Get App on Microsoft Store

Our Loci application allows you to create and edit mind maps in mixed reality. You save and load these using OneDrive.  The primary way to interact with Loci is using voice and gaze, and the current supported language is English. To understand how Loci works, it has a free one day trial.

Loci Demo at Techcrunch Disrupt

Location has meaning

On Tuesday September 12, 2016 we provided a demonstration of Loci for TechCrunch Disrupt 2016, which was held at Pier 48 in San Francisco.

We had a small round high table, and a small booth area. We set up a projector and laptop to show slides describing our Loci method of loci mixed reality mind mapping application, and show what it is like to use it with the HoloLens.

As attendees came by, we had them put on the headset and use Loci on the HoloLens in the very busy, large and open area of the conference.  HoloLens worked very well in that setting.  It stores and updates spaces, and each day and each hour the spatial area around us changed, but HoloLens showed the nodes and links of our demonstration very well.

We showed a notional house model with links and nodes for the house design.  We also showed an example query of crunchbase data for startups generated with python, and loaded into Loci.