New app lets users send photos to the future

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COLUMBIA - Imagine an infant is taking her first steps and her dad wants to take a video and surprise her with it on her 16th birthday when it pops up on her phone. 

That's exactly what a new app called Incubate is all about. The app allows users to send photos and videos up to 25 years into the future without the recipient knowing who sent it until it's ready to be open. 

Vice President of Marketing Matt Douty, a graduate of the University of Missouri, said when he tells people about it, they wonder why it doesn't already exist.

"People are blown away by the idea and excited to get to using it," he said. 

Douty said founder Michael McCluney decided to create the app after a story his friend told him about trying to put his crying newborn triplets to sleep.

He said McCluney's friend wanted to be able to show his children that crazy night 25 years down the road.

"While changing lives is a strong term, it's a really powerful concept," Douty said. "It really allows people to communicate like they've never communicated before."

Users can open the app and select either text, voice, picture, or video. Then, they create the moment and select a friend on their contact list. The user can pick an exact time and date up to 25 years into the future for the friend to finally be able to open it.

Although techonology may evolve considerably in the next 25 years, Douty said the Incubate team is ready for that.

"Since Incubate files will be in cloud servers, we will be able to transfer those and translate those to whatever file system is used or whatever technology system is used in 25 years," he said. 

Douty said the Incubate team is trying different marketing techniques at three colleges around the country to try to get a young college base: The University of Missouri, UCLA, and the University of Georgia.

University of Missouri student Sara Driscoll said she uses the app because she likes the anticipation of not knowing who sent her an "InQ" (pronounced ink) until the exact moment it is supposed to open.

"That mystery is still there that you don't know when you're going to get a message and who it's going to be from," she said. "When you have those little messages in the corner, that's the draw in appeal." 

Douty said the Incubate team is keeping up with the technology so they can make sure that even if technology changes drastically, people will still be able to see their photos.

The app is currently only available to Iphone users, but Douty said the app should be ready for Android users by mid-February.