#169: PPL avoider

Most people have trouble doing any two things at once. Despite this, walking whilst staring at the keyboard of a mobile phone is considered the default operating state for a large fraction of humanity. I know because they are always bumping into me (at least there are laws now against actually driving whilst texting).

Today’s invention is a way to reduce the number of pavement collisions caused by such ‘multitexting.’


One solution, which doesn’t involve bolting on half-silvered mirrors etc, is to hack the operating system to allow the cellphone camera to operate and display a small, forward-looking image at the same time as the text creation/reading window.

This would require that the phone be held with the lens pointing slightly downward and aimed a couple of meters ahead -pretty much the orientation that zombie texters currently adopt.

The camera image needn’t be hi-res of course. I’d suggest that a small (100×100 pixel) region of the screen be used to show a view which corresponds to the detail available in human peripheral vision (ie not much). Flashes of colour indicating oncoming objects would then alert the ardent keyboarder in time to avoid having to send :’-(