Unlike something like Evernote, which helps you store and reference information, Memstash helps you actually memorize stuff. For example, if you want to memorize a famous quote, you just highlight the text and click the Memstash bookmarklet. Then Memstash will begin sending you that quote via SMS or e-mail at specific intervals until you have it memorized.
The app was built and demoed at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon by Sina Khanifar, Sohail Khanifar and BC Broussard. Sina and Sohail are brothers. Broussard and Sina met through a co-working space and have collaborated together on Startup Bus projects.
Memstash is based on the spaced repetition learning technique. Sina says there are many spaced repetition applications out there, but you have to manually add the material you want to learn and remember to actually study it. Memstash makes it easy to add material with the click of a button, and send you the “flash cards” without you having to launch an application. “You don’t have to remember to remember,” he says.
What might you use it for? Names and faces, words in foreign languages, quotes. Sina says they’ve already been hearing that people want to use it for sports statistics.
Although Sina has wanted to build a space repetition app for a long time (he even suggested it as a StartupBus project, and you can see a discussion about the project on Less Wrong), he says they didn’t start building it until late yesterday afternoon. Broussard handled back-end development and the Brothers Khanifar did the front-end development. The app relies on Twillio for SMS integration, SendGrid for e-mail, Evernote for storage and New Relic for monitoring. It’s written in Ruby on Rails and hosted on Heroku. Broussard says he also wrote a an integration with Pearson Dictionary so that if someone stashes a word the definition will be included, but he’s still waiting on token approval.
The team says they haven’t really talked about what to do next, but they do want to build an iPhone app. “The next step will probably be coming up with more use cases for it,” Sina says.
If you want to know more, check out their demo:
Or watch Colleen’s TechCrunch TV interview: