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Apple files patent to keep you safe while texting and walking

Technology would let you see through texts while you walk.


Tim Sampson


Posted on Mar 28, 2014   Updated on May 31, 2021, 1:43 pm CDT

People are so connected to their mobile devices, it might just be easier to change the phone than to change people’s habits.

That seems to be Apple‘s thinking. Why else would the company file a patent application for technology designed to keep people from colliding with one another while walking and texting?

The application, unearthed by AppleInsider, is for technology that utilizes the iPhone camera to display an video image of what is directly in front of the user. Text messages are then superimposed over this real time footage so users can effectively see through their phone as they text.

“Consequently, the device’s user is less likely to collide with or stumble over an object while participating in a text messaging session,” Apple’s Stephen Payne wrote in the patent application.

It may seem ludicrous, but recent studies have shown that the urge to text and walk is a strong one with potentially severe consequence. In a study published two months ago, researchers examining the gait of people who walk and text at the same time found that their stride and direction deteriorated almost immediately once they pulled out their phones. And smartphone usage has been blamed for a rise in the number of pedestrian deaths in recent years.

But just because this patent is on the books doesn’t mean Apple has any intention of rolling out this feature anytime soon. Most technology patents filed never make it to the prototype stage, let alone commercial use. And this patent request has been on file since 2012. So for now, the safest way to text and walk continues to be keeping your head up.

H/T: The Register | Image by Holly Sisson/Flickr

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*First Published: Mar 28, 2014, 2:15 pm CDT