Unexpectedly Intriguing!
30 July 2021

Are you a smartphone zombie? One of those people who constantly walks around while absorbed by whatever you have displayed on your smartphone screen? The kind who often accidentally runs into things or people because you're so engrossed you don't notice obstacles in your path?

This three minute video from National Geographic describes the havoc that can result from the visual impairments shared by smartphone zombies:

Yanko Design's Minwook Paeng is an industrial designer who has developed a unique solution for smartphone zombies, who he groups as a new species, Phono Sapiens. He's developed (or "evolved") a design for a third eye, a wearable sensor that opens when your head is angled down to look at your smartphone instead of ahead at where you are going. He combines it with a proximity detector that alerts you if you're about to walk into an obstacle. The model in the following very short video demonstrates it in action:

As best as we can tell, there's no patent for it (yet), nor is there anything quite like it available on the market. The closest device we could find is a portable collision warning device for the blind and visually-impaired, which seems to be in the research and prototype phase.

Recently published research indicates these devices can lead to fewer collisions and improved mobility for the visually-impaired, which suggests a real world application is awaiting the refinement of Paeng's "third eye" concept.

From the Inventions in Everything Archives

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