Everyone knows it is more difficult to memorize a set of facts or words than
a set of pictures. Everyone also knows it is way too easy to misplace files
on a computer.
Researchers from the University of Southern California, MIT, and ESC
Entertainment are aiming to improve the lost-in-cyberspace problem with a
tool designed to tap people's facility with pictures.
The system, dubbed VisualID, automatically generates detailed icons for
specific files. It assigns similar icons to related files by mutating the
original icon in a series. The degree of mutation depends on the degree of
similarity of the file names, which gives the user an approximate visual
sense of saliency, according to the researchers.