Strange ‘third eye’ design will let phone addicts walk and text at the same time

An industrial design student has hit upon a solution for all this people you see wandering around glued to Facebook and Twitter and not looking where they’re going.

Minwook Paeng’s “Third Eye” activates automatically when the user looks down to look at their phone, detecting any obstacles in their path.

Minwook developed his sadly all-too-necessary device as part of work towards a degree in Innovation Design Engineering at London’s Royal College of Art and Imperial College.

The robotic eye would enable social media-obsessed phone users to visit locations other than their homes without fear of blundering into a lamp-post or another social media-obsessed phone user.

“The smartphone has permeated into modern life so deeply that it’s impossible to deny the evolution of phono sapiens,” Minwook told Dezeen.

Rather than trying to change human nature, he says we should accept that our phones are part of us now, and develop technology to make that less damaging.

His Third Eye will look out for obstacles to prevent embarrassing accidents.:"The black component that looks like a pupil is an ultrasonic sensor for sensing distance," he explained.

"When an obstacle is in front of the user, the ultrasonic sensor detects this and informs the user via a connected buzzer," he added.

Although, he adds, constant phone use is not only putting us at risk of pavement collisions, it’s destroying our posture too.

“By using smartphones in a bad posture, our neck vertebrae are leaning forward giving us ‘turtle neck syndrome’ and the pinkies we rest our phones on are bending along the way,” he said.

“When a few generations go by," Minwook continued, "these small changes from smartphone usage will accumulate and create a completely different, new form of mankind.”

He says that he hopes his design project, even if it does’t come to fruition, will serve as a reminder that our collective obsession with our phones isn’t doing us any good.

“I hope that the act of ironically pointing out what we are doing with our smartphones can help people to take time for self-reflection," he said.

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