‘Third Eye’ cameras can help ‘smartphone zombies’ walk safely without bumping

A South Korean art designer has come up with an ironic solution for “smartphone zombies” who can’t take their eyes off their screens so far that they can stop walking through walls or other obstacles.

Paeng Min-wook, 28, has created a robotic eyeball he calls “The Third Eye,” which obsessive mobile phone users can tie around their foreheads so they can browse without injury.

The device opens its transparent eyelids whenever it feels that the user’s head has been tilted to look at the smartphone. When the user comes within one to two meters of an obstacle, the device beeps to warn of impending danger.

Paying, a graduate of Innovation Design Engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, told Reuters during a demonstration of The Third Eye usage around Seoul, “This is the face of future mankind with three eyes.”

“Since we can’t remove eyes from smartphones, we will need extra eyes in the future.”

Paeng’s invention uses a gyro sensor to measure the diagonal angle of the user’s neck and an ultrasonic sensor to calculate the distance between the robotic eye and any obstruction. Both sensors are connected to an open-source single-board microcontroller with a battery pack.

Paying’s display of the device in Seoul this week caught the attention of pedestrians.

“I thought he looked like an alien with his eyes on his forehead,” said Lee Oak-jo, a Seoul resident. “A lot of young people nowadays can get into accidents while using their mobile phones. It will be good for them.”

Paying said the third eye is meant to be a warning, not a real solution for smartphone addicts who don’t pay attention to where they are going.

“By presenting this satirical solution, I hope people recognize the severity of their gadget addiction and look back on themselves,” he said.

Thomson Reuters 2021

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