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A South Korean Smart Product Warns The Current Generation Against Smartphone Addiction

A South Korea-based industrial designer has come up with a solution for individuals that keep walking into walls and oncoming traffic due to being busy on their phones. His satirical answer to the cellphone zombie pandemic is the Third Eye camera.

First of all, let's clear something up from the get-go: this product is very much satire and not a real purchasable item. Pang Min-wook, the 28 year old Imperial College graduate responsible for the invention, made as much clear. In a statement to Reuters, he clarified that the product's purpose was not to provide any such solution. Rather, it was to merely raise attention towards the amount of inattentiveness younger generations were paying to their surroundings. Gadget addiction seems to have garnered a rather prevalent presence in South Korea, thus warranting the device's demonstration.

And what does the device itself do? The Third Eye is essentially a gyroscope that's strapped on to a person's forehead. It gives off the appearance of said person having a rather bulbous, protruded third eye. The Eye then measures the oblique angle at which a person's neck is deflected, and tracks distant obstacles in one's vicinity. Upon an object getting to close for comfort, the Eye warns it's user via their mobile device. It more or less utilizes the source of distractions and incorporates it into the solution as well.

Pang Min-wook's statement to Reuters even includes a warning, citing that the Third Eye is what could be defined as "the look of future mankind". Naturally, the student feels rather strongly about device addiction. Especially since many alarming studies have been noted about individuals getting into accidents due to them being busy with their devices. Many such stories were even attributed to games such as Pokémon GO. The Third Eye and it's public demonstration in Seoul only adds to these stories and voices, calling the youth away from their iPhones and Macbooks.


Here's the thing, though. I, as a writer, am disappointed. The experiment itself comes off as mundane to me. The threat of "technology becoming our addictive demise" has been hanging over the heads of every generation. Ours is criticized for smartphones and the like. The prior one was lectured over the likes of TV and boom boxes. The generation before theirs were criticized for their reliance on electricity. And so on and so forth, the "satire" goes. This isn't new, this isn't original. The Third Eye is just another tired way of shaking an old man's cane at the younger generation, warning them of what might come.

It's even more so disappointing that such derision comes from an esteemed 28 year old graduate. One of the people who should actively understand his generation's reliance on devices that almost literally hold everything dear to them. Devices such as the Third Eye will only cause a further generational drift. Clumsy people have always existed. Those who ran into walls holding newspapers were given the same criticism as the current wielders of smartphones. Shifting the dialogue to address an individual's inattention, as opposed to blaming smartphones, would honestly be one's best bet. Otherwise, the Third Eye looks like it'll be of no more use than being the butt of an "ok boomer" joke.

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