Keeping a (third) eye on the future
If you’ve ever spent any time walking in a major city, you’ve likely seen this scene play out.
A young person, probably a hipster, is walking down the street towards you. Even though you are on the opposite side of the street they will start to veer ever so slightly into your path.
Noticing this, you adjust your direction to avoid them colliding with you. You assume that they will follow suit, but no. They keep angling towards you.
Escalating the situation, you might start flapping your arms at them, or making a coughing noise to draw their attention.
Are they blind, you think? No, they are walking without any aids that would indicate that. Why are they determined to run me over?
Eventually you give up and move quickly to the other side of the path, narrowly avoiding them as they pass. They remain oblivious to your plight.
As they walk by you suddenly understand what the issue was. You look at them and see that they didn’t see you because they had their head buried in their phone.
Yep, you had to jump out of the way of this cell phone zombie because they prioritized being on the ‘Gram to actual public safety.
Infuriating, right? Well, a Korean student engineer agrees and he has created a device to help stop this from happening.
Paeng Min-wook, 28, a student at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College in London developed a something he is calling “The Third Eye.” What it is, is a robotic sensing device that you can wear on your forehead while walking.
The thing will then beep at you if you are about to run into something or someone. This will allow cell phone addicts to keep viewing the latest posts while they walk down the street. An unintended benefit is that it would also allow the rest of us to easily identify idiots that can’t put their cell phone down for the time it takes to walk somewhere.
In fairness to Min-wook, he does not intend for this device to be sold commercially. No, he designed it to be funny – it’s satire. By demonstrating how absurd it is that people can’t stop looking at their phone for 10 seconds, Min-wook is hoping to make some kind of overriding social commentary.
This is clearly a smart guy. Someone should hire him. However, I think Min-wook might be overestimating the ability of most people to understand satire. The reason people are paying attention to his invention today isn’t because of a statement about being present in the moment.
No, people are looking at this and thinking ‘yeah, I can see a market for this.’
The big tech companies are 100% paying attention to this. I can see it now – the iEye, coming to an Apple Store near you in 2022. Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow can be the spokesperson (say iEye out loud and you’ll understand). This thing markets itself.
So Min-wook might want to drop this earnest satire story and instead lean into his invention. You see, when it comes to being addicted to looking at our cell phones, we’re all bad for it.
So, strap on that third eye and go out for a nice walk to catch up on your reading. And, if you’re Min-wook, cash in.