Cardwheel Is A Memories App That Recalls Photos Based On Context, Not Time

Launching today, Cardwheel is an app that recalls a fresh set of memories each day. However, unlike year-ago-remembering apps, Cardwheel uses machine learning to recall relevant, contextual memories based on a number of different factors.

Here’s how the service works: Every morning users are presented with a daily wheel of up to 12 photos. These photos come from places like your camera roll, Facebook photos, and Instagram account, and act as an archive that Cardwheel will use to create its daily memories.


The interesting part is how Cardwheel decides what type of wheel to show you each day. The app takes into account things like location, recent activities and even relationships on social networks to determine what type of wheel it will create.

For example, the app may sense you’re on vacation at the beach and show you photos from the last time you were at that vacation spot, regardless of whether it was a decade or a month ago.

On the other hand, Cardwheel may use Friday’s wheel to recall memories from a fun Friday night six months ago. Elissa Hull, co-founder of Cardwheel, explained that instead of relying on time, the service recalls memories when its algorithm “thinks they should come back.”

To do this, the service uses “dozens and dozens” of different algorithms, and will learn your preferences to improve over time.

To help it learn, the app does suggest that users tag some photos with a location or hashtag (like #fun, or #bar), but does so in an intuitive way that doesn’t seem like extra work.

While the main purpose of the app is to recall your own memories, Cardwheel can also take advantage of your friend’s memories (if they give you permission) to spin up relevant photos.

For example, the app could sense you’re on vacation in Hawaii and show you a photo your friend took while they were last in Hawaii. The idea is that you could use your friend’s database of experiences to find a cool restaurant or attraction that you normally wouldn’t have found.

Overall, the service provides a unique method to relive memories from the past. As many of our mobile photo collections swell to thousands and thousands of images, expect more and more tools to pop up that help us digest these archives.

Cardwheel is available for download now in the iOS App Store.