A South Korean industrial designer has come up with a satirical solution to “smartphone zombies” who cannot take their eyes off the screen long enough to prevent themselves from running into a wall or other obstacle.
Paeng Min-wook, 28, has developed a robot eyeball, which he dubbed “The Third Eye”, which obsessive cell phone users can strap to their foreheads so that they can surf the web without injuries while on the move.
The device opens its translucent eyelid when it senses that the user’s head has been lowered to look at a smartphone. When the user approaches an obstacle one to two meters, the device beeps to warn of the impending danger.
“This is the three-eyed look of future humanity,” Paeng, a post graduate in innovation design engineering at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London, told Reuters as he demonstrated the use of The Third Eye in Seoul.
“Since we cannot take our eyes off the smartphone, the additional eye will be needed in the future.”
Paeng’s invention uses a gyro sensor to measure the oblique angle of the user’s neck and an ultrasonic sensor to calculate the distance between the robot’s eye and any obstacles. Both sensors are connected to an open source single board microcontroller with a battery.
Paeng’s demonstration of the device in Seoul this week caught the attention of passers-by.
“I thought he looked like an alien with one eye on his forehead,” said Lee Ok-jo from Seoul. “Nowadays, a lot of young people can have cell phone accidents. That would be good for them.”
Paeng said The Third Eye was meant as a warning, not a real solution for smartphone addicts who aren’t paying attention to where they’re going.
“By presenting this satirical solution, I hope people will see the severity of their gadget addiction and look back on themselves,” he said.
© Thomson Reuters 2021