These days it’s kind of hard to say whether we as a species are evolving alongside technology or degenerating as it fills in for common sense for us. Case in point, engineering student Minwook Paeng has made a robotic third eye that looks out for obstacles while its wearer texts and walks.
Third Eye blind
The Third Eye (that’s the official name) is made up of a pupil-esque sonar sensor and a gyroscope housed in a clear plastic case that attaches to the user with a thin gel pad. A head strap also helps to keep the eye attached. The gyroscope senses when the wearer tilts their head comically forward, at which point the “eyelid” of the case pops open to reveal the sonar sensor.
The sonar sensor detects obstacles in front of the user and triggers a buzzer to warn them of the potential injury approaching while they walk and stare at their phones. Unfortunately, the sensor only detects physical obstructions directly ahead of it, meaning it won’t warn you of an impending fall down an open manhole.
But its purpose isn’t entirely functional, like Android’s “Heads Up” feature. Minwook Paeng created the Third Eye as a satirical presentation of humanity’s devolution into “phono sapiens”, as part of his Design Engineering degree at the London Royal College of Arts and Imperial College.
“By using smartphones in a bad posture, our neck vertebrae are leaning forward giving us ‘turtle neck syndrome’ and the pinkies we rest our phones on are bending along the way,” said Paeng in an interview with Dezeen.
“When a few generations go by, these small changes from smartphone usage will accumulate and create a completely different, new form of mankind.”
That may just be hyperbole for humour, but there’s substance to it. The level to which we’re all reliant on (or even addicted to) our phones is at least a little bit absurd.