Hanson’s memory coins preserve precious moments digitally

Lara Hanson of Kent has created an innovative Memory Coin to digitally preserve important memories.

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Hanson’s memory coins preserve precious moments digitally

KENT—Back in 1973, Jim Croce sang, “If I could save time in a bottle / the first thing that I’d like to do / Is to save every day till eternity passes away / Just to spend them with you.”

Everyone occasionally has that feeling. Time is fleeting, our lives ephemeral, their meaning lost in the ether.

Lara Hanson, a Kent mother and innovative technological whiz, may not have a bottle in which to store memories, but she has a 21st-century answer to Croce’s plea —Vaulted Memory Coins, each about the size of a quarter, that can be easily pressed onto any object, storing the memories associated with that object.

Suddenly, stories about the table in the hall that has been coveted by successive generations, or the buggy in the barn that great-great-grandpa drove when courting his bride come to life, played back on our mobile phones with a tap.

Birthdays, weddings, youthful adventures, sun-filled days at the beach with our babies, and those final, tender, end-of-life memories can be stored and shared forever. Pressed on a personalized Christmas ornament or a birthday card, they can become a wonderful vehicle to record the happenings of the day.

The idea of creating these little “keepers of memories” developed after Hanson suffered a near-death experience following an ectopic pregnancy. “When I nearly died, I realized my kids wouldn’t know my stories,” she said. “Thirteen years ago, I went and stayed with a tribe in Panama — my kids wouldn’t have known about that. Videos are really helpful, and the coins can link to sources such as YouTube.”

But it doesn’t have to be videos of major events. “The connection between memories and keepsakes is profound,” she said. “We have Ancestry but there was no way to share the memories of things in the household. There is a little wooden bird on my bedside table that belonged to my great-grandmother. I wanted to connect that little hummingbird to her poetry book, which she wrote at the turn of the last century. My children would never have made that connection —that was the backdrop on creating this.”

She said many people use Facebook to store memories, but with so much content on that site after only one year, most people can’t find photos of their last birthday. By contrast, each Vaulted memory coin can hold up to 10 memories, which are then stored in a “vault.” “If you want to add another coin, you can do it,” she said. “The vault is limitless.”

“This brings everything to life. It’s important to preserve these memories,” she said, predicting that they could literally recast the lens of American history.

She recalled that her father served in Vietnam, a land she later visited. “We know it was the subtext for a lot his history, and now my children can hear about it from someone who was in Vietnam. I have another vaulted memory about my mother’s cookbook and the stories about it. I want my children to know the family history.”

To vault a memory, users scan the coin with their smartphone and register the related object in the accompanying app. Users can then add images, videos, audio, and text to capture the history of the given object, which can then be played back by any future users who scan the coin.

For her memory chips, she adapted a former digital development used to authenticate product brands with the mobile phone.

Each coin is $5; Vaulted offers storage at no additional fee.

She also works with institutions such as White Memorial in Litchfield, universities, corporations, sports programs and other organizations to permanently store their legacies.

Last year her new business announced its participation in Techstars’ accelerator program. “It’s a pretty exclusive thing,” she reported. “It’s sponsored by JP Morgan and supports new technology companies.”

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