If you have ever stumbled over an object or bumped into someone while texting
and walking, you probably felt foolish. Apple's new "transparent
texting" technology could spare you such embarrassment in the future.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently approved a patent for Apple's
see-through iPhone, according to a report at
mashable.com. The website says 12 percent of people believe it is
safe to walk and text, paying little attention to the world around them.
Instead of the white background on the iPhone messages app, users would
see a live video image of what's in front of them, captured by the
phone's camera. All they would have to do is activate the feature.
Of course, whether this technology could keep cellphone junkies from having
accidents is up for debate. After all, even with transparent texting,
users would still be focusing on sending and receiving messages.
study by researchers at the University of Washington documented the hazards
of walking while texting. The research, which focused on 20 busy Seattle
intersections, determined that pedestrians who were texting took longer
to cross and were more likely to disregard traffic signals and fail to
look both ways before crossing.
Almost 30 percent of the 1,102 pedestrians observed were participating
in a distracting activity while crossing streets: 11.2 percent listened
to music, 7.3 percent texted, and 6.2 percent used a handheld phone. Texting,
using a phone and talking with a friend all increased crossing time.
It is clear that many people are addicted to their smartphones. Mashable.com
cited studies showing that that 60 percent of respondents check their
phones at least once an hour.
Widely-viewed video has captured people appearing oblivious to danger while
texting - walking into a mall fountain, stumbling on train tracks and
nearly bumping into a bear.
It can be hazardous enough to be a pedestrian without making things worse
by failing to pay attention. In 2012,
Michigan traffic accidents killed 133 pedestrians and injured nearly 2,000. Of those killed, 36 percent were crossing streets
outside of intersections, according to a
report by the Michigan Department of State Police.