Do You Text While Walking? This App Wants to Save Your Life.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked smack into something or someone while staring down at your smartphone? Yeah, you. You know who you are, and you’re far from alone. We’re guilty of walking and texting, too.
Fear no longer, distracted, device-gazing zombie walkers. Help for unabashed, small-screen addicts like us is on the way -- to the Google Play store next month, actually. The industrious geniuses at New York City’s One Llama Labs have developed a hyper sound-sensitive Android app called Audio Aware.
The potentially life-saving safety app is specifically designed to help steer diehard phone geeks like us who stare hypnotically down at our oh-so-mesmerizing screens out of harm's way. In other words, it can keep you from walking into oncoming traffic.
Audio Aware’s makers want you to fully trust their nascent technology to save you from what you’re too wrapped up in your phone to see coming. Like absentmindedly strolling into a giant California black bear or in front of an ambulance. We hope it puts an end to some particularly hazardous (and sadly sometimes fatal) behaviors, one reformed user at a time.
In addition to warding distracted screen stare-ers off of oncoming dangers, the nifty app is also designed to tip individuals who are hearing-impaired off to nearby potential hazards.
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The “artificial ear” app, which is based on the research of University of Illinois Informatics Institute scientist David Tcheng and his team, will reportedly automatically detect a number of “perilous” sounds, including “screeching tires and wailing sirens,” and alert you to them right away. Ideally just in the nick of time and not a hot millisecond later.
Say, for instance, you're happily strolling down the street, blasting your favorite Pharrell Williams song in your earbuds, when a siren or another frightful sound the app recognizes goes off. The app will conveniently pause your tunes -- or YouTube video or podcast -- and “pipe in an amplified version of the sound it’s picking up,” directly into your ears, zero Wi-Fi connection necessary. Hopefully you’ll be moved to move to safety.
It's not immediately clear if or when the One Llama Labs team plans on making a version of Audio Aware for Apple users. Keep your eyes peeled on the App Store, and on the street (when walking).
What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below.
Kim Lachance Shandrow is the former West Coast editor at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was a commerce columnist at Los Angeles CityBeat, a news producer at MSNBC and KNBC in Los Angeles and a frequent contributor to the Los Angeles Times. She has also written for Government Technology magazine, LA Yoga magazine, the Lowell Sun newspaper, HealthCentral.com, PsychCentral.com and the former U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. C. Everett Coop. Follow her on Twitter at @Lashandrow. You can also follow her on Facebook here.