In September of 2013, Nate Brakke traveled to South Dakota for his grandfather’s 90th birthday. At the party, he received a USB flash drive containing an audio interview of his grandparents telling the story of their lives. That one moment in time would forever change his life – and possibly the lives of millions of people around the world.
“It was amazing,” recalls Brakke. “I could hear the kitchen clock chiming in the background, and I was instantly transported back to their house, where I spent much time as a child. I realized how fortunate I was to receive this high-tech time capsule before my grandparents passed away. Then it occurred to me that everyone on the planet ought to have something similar.”
Now they can, with the Soal App, a new way for people to capture the voices of friends and family and carry them wherever they go.
What’s the Problem?
In the fall of 2012, Brakke’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with a rare form of Alzheimer dementia – a devastating disease that causes vision loss, memory loss, and a reduced life span. As the disease progressed, Brakke wondered if there was a way to preserve her story before she could no longer tell it.
He also felt inspired by the disconnect in social media, which is supposed to make us feel more connected, but often doesn’t. Brakke wanted to find a way to use technology to bring people closer together rather than making them feel more isolated.
“Everyone has a story to tell. But once our loved ones are no longer with us, their stories are lost forever,” says Brakke. “I kept thinking we needed a simple way to capture the human voices we will never hear again.”
What’s the Big Idea?
After some research into existing products, Bakker created the Soal App, a smartphone app that provides a new way to record the soundtrack of your life. The app lets you record a sound or voice, tag a photo or caption, label it with a theme, save the recording on your phone, and/or send it to a friend. It can be used for audio journaling, audio ancestry, chronicling your children’s lives, capturing a musical moment – the possibilities are endless.
Where Is It Headed?
Brakke envisions moms using Soal to hear a son recite his ABCs long after he has left for college. A deployed military dad halfway around the world, hearing his kids singing, “The wheels on the bus go round and round” and saying, “I love you daddy.” Parents on a trip with their kids, listening to their late grandfather’s story about his travels to the same place.
“We’re helping families save the changing voices of their children and the fading stories of their grandparents by adding sound to photos,” adds Brakke. My hope is that Soal will eventually find it’s way onto every sentimental smartphone user’s home screen.”
Learn more about it on their Ideator profile!
Download the Soal App at: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soal/id911397895.
Brakke is looking to hire a growth hacker. See the job posting at: