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.
Our Loci app is available now for Windows Mixed Reality on the Microsoft Store here. 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.
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.
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. It includes a table of features comparisons across related mind map software.
First, Loci supports mind map interaction on graphs. So it is easy to add a node to the graph with a link to an existing node in augmented reality, but the mind map you are creating does not have to have a central node. This is sometimes called a concept map, but Loci is broader than that, it supports general graphs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.