Third eye for ‘smartphone zombies’ could be a real and practical solution if it wasn’t satirical: ‘Phono Sapiens’ artwork warns about obstacles

Third Eye Smartphone Zombies Phono Sapiens
Sensors warn Smartphone Zombies about dangers Pic credit: Dun.can/Flickr

Smartphone users could benefit from a third eye that observes and warns about oncoming obstacles. This is precisely what a South Korean industrial designer Paeng Min-wook has developed.

Paeng has created ‘Phono Sapiens’ artwork as a satire. However, the concept, called ‘The Third Eye’ works to alert “Smartphone Zombies” before they walk into a wall or other humans.

South Korean industrial designer invents device to keep smartphone addicts safe while walking:

There is an uncomfortably large number of videos on social media platforms that show people walking into walls, ponds, pedestrians, oncoming traffic. These people aren’t blind, but instead, are completely oblivious to their surroundings.

The sole reason for ignoring visual cues about simple everyday navigation is a rising phenomenon called smartphone addiction. These “Smartphone Zombies” not only endanger themselves but also the people and infrastructure around them.

To address the problem. Paeng Min-wook, 28, has developed a robotic eyeball. He calls his invention ‘The Third Eye’.

Smartphone addicts can strap this invention to their foreheads so that they continue staring into their devices while walking. Meanwhile, the robotic eye will observe the path ahead and caution the smartphone user about any obstacles.

The Third Eye is remarkably simple. It is essentially a couple of sensors with a translucent eyelid that activate if they sense the wearer has lowered his head to look at a smartphone. If the wearer of The Third Eye comes within one to two meters of an obstacle, it will sound an alert to warn about the danger.

The 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 robotic eye and any obstacles. A battery pack powers a simple board microcontroller that interfaces with the two sensors.

The Third Eye is part of artwork but the concept is promising, and perhaps life-saving as well:

Paeng has confirmed that The Third Eye is part of an artwork titled ‘Phono Sapiens’. The artwork presumably attempts to raise awareness about the rising number of Smartphone Zombies.

Smartphone addicts are practically blind. They are completely unaware or oblivious of their surroundings. Using a smartphone significantly lowers the ability of sensory organs to pick up mundane cues about navigation.

Paeng reportedly indicated he has plans to develop a camera module for the Third Eye and a linked mobile phone application as well. However, he doesn’t plan on commercializing his invention.

Needless to mention, there’s a huge potential demand for such an invention. The South Korean industrial designer should, however, miniaturize his invention to make it a lot less obvious.

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