Behind the Scenes with the Atlas of Caregiving: Oskar Kalmaru, Narrative

Three consecutive images of Hannah organizing medications, from Narrative Clip worn by Harvey.

With only a couple of weeks to go before our Atlas of Caregiving Pilot Report is published, we’re excited to give you a sneak peek into the project’s innovative approach to researching and learning about family caregiving.

While our research itself is deeply focused on the human side of family caregiving, in many cases technology tools play a pivotal role. One such tool is the Narrative Clip, a tiny camera worn by our participant families. During the pilot, these cameras captured images every 30 seconds, providing a deep and detailed look at the day-to-day experience of family caregivers.

The photos above capture Hanna, a family caregiver, as she carefully organizes the many medications taken by her brother, Harvey, as he looks on while wearing the Narrative Clip.

“Seeing these images made me reflect upon what a critical and stressful task it is to manage Harvey’s medications. A simple mistake can have serious consequences.”

Celine Takatsuno, of the Atlas of Caregiving team, recently spoke with Oskar Kalmaru, Narrative co-founder and CMO, about their role in this important work.

M Celine Takatsuno: What is the story behind Narrative?
Oskar Kalmaru: Narrative’s vision is to let everyone share their own story – captured effortlessly and authentically with the wearable camera Narrative Clip. By wearing a camera that automatically takes photos on a continuous time interval, a person can truly be in the moment while still capturing photos and videos to share afterwards. This has proven helpful for parents who want to document their precious time with their children, travelers who’ve grown tired of experiencing their holiday behind a camera lens – or storytellers that want to share the true facts of events and experiences.

MCT: What drew Narrative to participate in the Atlas of Caregiving Pilot?
OK: Before Narrative, previous attempts at creating wearable cameras had oftentimes originated in the healthcare sector: to document the caregiving process or to help patients with memory disabilities to recover or find meaning in their everyday life. While Narrative’s products are created with a broader spectrum of uses in mind, we were born with this mentality of using the Narrative Clip for good purposes, such as in caregiving and health. When the opportunity arose to work with Atlas of Caregiving in their pursuit to better understand and share the stories of family caregivers, we were excited to be a part of it!

MCT: What stood out for you during your involvement with the Pilot?
OK: The pilot helped the Narrative team to realize at least two very uplifting things: First, that our then still very early version of our first product was useful in a completely non-techie environment. That people whose primary objective was not to capture fun family photos or travel stories actually were able—and found value in—using the Narrative Clip. Secondly, many of us in the Narrative team, like most people, have a relative or loved one that need extra care, and we were touched and happy to see that our product could be meaningful for this purpose.

MCT: How might this experience impact your work in the future?
OK: The results from the pilots with Atlas of Caregiving have helped us making the second version of the Narrative Clip even easier to use. Going forward, we hope to be able to work with Atlas of Caregiving to allow for the people in their network to provide new insights on how a wearable camera like the Narrative Clip can be useful in even more contexts and for more people.

We’d like to thank Oskar and the Narrative team for participating in the Atlas of Caregiving Pilot, and for sharing their thoughts with us here. Stay tuned as we continue our behind the scenes conversations with collaborators in design, community, and culture!