When I was growing up, there wasn’t a lot of danger of blindly walking into traffic or falling into an open manhole. This is because we didn’t have smartphones and we didn’t have anything to be distracting us when we walked. These days, however, it’s a different story. Most people of all ages have a smartphone, and most of us have our heads buried in them most of the time. In fact, the average user will tap, click, or swipe their phone more than 2,500 times per day, according to statistics. Moreover, 47% of us say we couldn’t live without our devices.
Are you one of them? I may be. Because of what I do for a living, I have to have a smartphone so that I can use apps. Another interesting statistic is that around the world, more people own cell phones than toothbrushes. Who knew? Also important, the average user (and this isn’t even a “power user”) spends more than two hours and 51 minutes on their phones every day. That’s a lot of screentime. The stats are even more startling when you break it down by age, with more than 94% of people aged 18-29 carrying around a smartphone. Young people spend even more time on their phones than older people do.
And it’s a young person who has done something about the danger of walking and looking down at one’s phone. Minwook Paeng is a young South Korean industrial designer who studies at the Imperial College London’s Innovation Design Engineering program. This young person has invented a robotic “third eye” that will alert wearers when they are about to run into an oncoming obstacle. The device works by alerting the wearer to look up. When an obstacle is nearby, the eye buzzes to get the wearers to look up and watch where they’re going.
Watch the video below.