Tuesday 24 October 2017

Avoid that telephone pole: Transparent texting for Apple iPhone 'in development'

Apple's chief executive has tried to reassure shareholders about the company's plans.
Apple's chief executive has tried to reassure shareholders about the company's plans.

Apple has filed a patent for a new transparency technology designed to allow iPhone users to text more safely while walking.

The feature replaces the background of the text with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the user via the rear-view camera, reducing the likelihood of them tripping or bumping into obstacles while distracted.

The US patent, which was first filed in 2012, details the technology as: ""A user who is walking while participating in a text messaging session may inadvertently collide with or stumble over objects in his path because his attention was focused on his device's display instead of the path that he was traversing.

"Alternative embodiments of the invention can be applied to virtually any computer-executable application in which text is presented over a background."

The patent suggests the feature will be activated within a texting session at the press of a button, displaying the conversation as a series of transparent bubbles. Partial transparency was first introduced with the release of iOS 7 for actions including launching the Control Centre.

The dangers of not paying attention while walking and checking your phone have been well-documented. A woman had to be rescued by police after plunging off a pier while checking Facebook in Melbourne last year, and a study has found texting may be the cause of poor posture.

Researchers asked 26 volunteers to walk at a comfortable pace without a phone then monitored them as they read or text or typed a message.

A computer which tracked the body’s movements revealed that texting altered the posture and changed the way people walked.

Hunched over with the heads down, texters were less able to walk in a straight line and more likely to topple off balance.



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