The Memex (memory extender; German about: memory enhancer ) is conceived as possible, humane, easy -to-use knowledge -discovery and recovery system compact analog computer, which in 1945 by Vannevar Bush in the article As We May Think ( Atlantic Monthly, July 1945, pp. 101 ff ) was presented fictitious. The principle was also based on the 1931 's USA patented Statistical machine by Emanuel Goldberg.

The machine is in the form of a desk and comprise a combination of electro-mechanical controls and microfilm equipment. On two adjacent, touch-sensitive screens of information content to be projected. The user would in this information with levers and forward through the pages, and save documents and can call back. It would also give the possibility to have pages link by " shortcuts " ( associations ) to each other. The stored information could thus long paths ( trails ) are linked. The Life Magazine showed some months after the article illustrations available for possible appearance of the Memex, further comprising a head mounted camera and a typewriter that have speech recognition and text to read aloud using voice synthesis.

Bush's vision was to use the Memex for mechanical support of human memory and associative thinking:

" The human mind works [ ... ] by means of association. Just having an information procured, he reaches forward to the next to that is suggested by the thoughts shortcut, according to an intricate web of trails that runs on brain cells. [ ...] [ The Memex is ] a device in which an individual all his books, records and communications stores and which is mechanized so that it can be pulled with increasing speed and flexibility to rate. She is an enlarged appendix to his memory. "

Bush was a pioneer of the analog computer, thus corresponds to its image of the Memex as an electromechanical information system the then state of the art ( terminology, interrelating, indexing and microfilming ). The possibilities of digital computers were not yet in sight. Although the Memex always remained a technical-scientific utopia, they have since been resistant to the idea, " Office of the Future". So it would have been not only the first hypertext machine, but also the micro- film-based forerunner of the personal computer.

Memex in the digital age

The ideas Bush are also the guiding principle of the Microsoft Research project MyLifeBits.