Technology As Substitute For Attention

from the the-machine-that-goes-bing dept

Some places are trying to cut down on people being distracted by talking on their cell phones while they drive by banning it, but these efforts are largely fruitless. Now, a guy from the West Coast thinks he can help the problem by making phones beep when they come within 300 feet of a traffic light -- an idea he came up with after being hit by a car while crossing the street for the second time. The idea is to have GPS-equipped phones have a software map storing the location of traffic lights in a particular area, then sounding the beep when it comes within a certain proximity to one. It's unclear how this would be helpful in areas without traffic lights, or in areas where the lights are densely packed, like many urban environments. Consultants that the guy has hired think it's a wonderful idea, but it's hard to see any carriers or insurance companies giving it the green light.

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  • identicon
    redheaded_stepchild, 12 Jan 2006 @ 4:42pm

    I have a better idea...

    I suggest we build jamming devices into our roads. Either that or just shoot 'em. I'm kinda leaning toward shooting, myself :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 5:16pm

    No Subject Given

    that is stupid, and anyone you pay is going to think you have a wonderful idea - unless they have to put money into it too (in which case you are not paying them I guess)

    firstly if you have gps why bother with the traffic lights - just detect how fast you are moving.

    Secondly - (and some of these negate my above argument) what if you are the passenger? on a bus? walking along the sidewalk near the lights?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 5:38pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      ok, so i should have read it first. he wants people to pay attention at the lights. but that is only a small part of the problem, so it won't help avoid the "no phones while driving" laws that are soon to come.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Fantastical monkey, 12 Jan 2006 @ 5:44pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      firstly if you have gps why bother with the traffic lights - just detect how fast you are moving. Secondly - (and some of these negate my above argument) what if you are the passenger? on a bus? walking along the sidewalk near the lights?
      If you were using the software to detect speed, then you would have the feature switch off whilst you were walking, and have it activated once you reached a certain speed. The bus presents a problem however...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 8:54pm

      Re: No Subject Given

      movement detection would only work for when the light changes from red to green - stopping to moving. the whole point of the thing is so people STOP when a light is coming up, or at least get ready to stop.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Tim, 13 Jan 2006 @ 3:02am

      Re: No Subject Given

      > what if you are the passenger? < br>
      Good question.

      > on a bus?

      You could view it as an opportunity to STFU and stop annoying your neighbours on the bus, of course :]

      > walking along the sidewalk near the lights?

      Just because you're a pedestrian doesn't absolve you of responsibility to be aware of your environment, nor does it grant you the right to sail out across tarmac oblivious to, and inconveniencing, those who've paid for the right to use it. (You still have the right to kill yourself by walking out in front of a car, and to expect the driver to sue for damage caused, of course.)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Tom Morris, 14 Jan 2006 @ 11:27am

        Re: No Subject Given

        You seem oblivious to the fact that pedestrians pay property tax too. And that when a car driver parks his car, he becomes a pedestrian. Cuts both damn ways.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Guru, 12 Jan 2006 @ 6:15pm

    What if?

    What if you live in an apartment at an intersection?

    What if people didn't have the constant urge to talk on their cell phones!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 7:41pm

    No Subject Given

    So, Im minding my own business, driving along, doing the speed limit (miraculously) and as I approach the intersection, my phone starts to beep, so I reach over to see what the hell is wrong with it and plow through a peddle of pedestrians. Genius.

    Yah distracting drivers as they approach intersections that is going to make the world safer.

    I though the problem of using your phone whilst driving was that it was distracting? How is it, that using the phone to distract you will not cause the same problem?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    apoc, 12 Jan 2006 @ 8:50pm

    No Subject Given

    All of you are trying to figure out ways of how to use technology to control people to do something. But the problem isnt in technology, it's in the people who use it. Society has to produce smarter, more considerate human beings. But that's just my view.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Jan 2006 @ 8:59pm

    Did any of you prev posters think maybe...

    the system would only beep when people are actually talking? Personally, that is super obvious - how could you guys not see that? People are only going to be distracted when they are already talking, not when its sitting in the cup holder or wherever you put it when you drive.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bug2, 12 Jan 2006 @ 10:02pm

    What happens to the pedestrian?

    I walk 2-3 miles a day- sometimes through busy intersections-most likely time for a speeding demon to plow through while on the cell phone. What about a system that could be pre-installed in a car that automatically slows your speed down when approaching intersections when you are on your phone in the car- so the person driving is more aware of intersections, or lights?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Geof Johnson, 13 Jan 2006 @ 1:59am

    LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET

    is there something wrong with the "LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE INTERSECTION" method?

    Sure, cell phones are distracting, but that is to the driver - what distracts the pedestrian from looking both ways as soon as he enters the intersection.... hmmm. let me day dream about that for a few minutes and I'll get back to you when I'm done [while my attention is someplace else, I choose to cross a busy street without paying attention and I am plowed down... gee, how could that be 100% my fault? TWICE!!!]

    Look both ways when you cross the street,
    Left and right, what do you see?
    If no cars are coming, you're safe as can be.
    Look both ways, look both ways.

    I have some friends who live down the road
    And that's where I go to play.
    They live close, I can walk, but before I can go,
    Mommy and Daddy say.

    Look both ways when you cross the street,
    Left and right, what do you see?
    If no cars are coming, you're safe as can be.
    Look both ways, look both ways.

    I like to walk to the store where I know
    They have candy and bubble gum.
    I hold Mommy's hand when we cross at the corner
    And I hear my Daddy say.

    Look both ways when you cross the street,
    Left and right, what do you see?
    If no cars are coming, you're safe as can be.
    Look both ways, look both ways.

    We like to ride on our bikes all the time,
    We go fast and we go pretty far.
    We don't take chances, we always look twice,
    So that we don't get squashed by a car.

    Look both ways when you cross the street,
    Left and right, what do you see?
    If no cars are coming, you're safe as can be.
    Look both ways, look both ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Scott, 13 Jan 2006 @ 5:39am

      Re: LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET

      You haven't ever walked through downtown Boston have you. I have the "walk" sign lit up, the light is red, I start to walk, and some jackarse barrels through the light yapping on a phone at 40 mph.
      It is perfectly reasonable for me to assume that if the walk light is up and traffic has a red light, I am not going to be hit. But apparantly to the drivers as long as there is no cop around red lights are for suckers. For 8 years I have watched this get worse, almost every state has a law "Pedestrians have the right of way in crosswalks."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 Jan 2006 @ 8:27am

        Re: LOOK BOTH WAYS BEFORE YOU CROSS THE STREET

        a "WALK" signal isn't going to protect you from being run-over. Pay attention to your environment -- THIS WILL protect you.

        Be a defensive pedestrian. Part of doing so is to pay attention to your environment, just as the topic of this article states... and stop relying 100% on technology (but this should just go without saying).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kevin, 13 Jan 2006 @ 12:19pm

    Misguided

    I find it rather sad that he's devoted so much attention to this misguided idea. It'd be better spent on campaigning for driver cell phone bans. Hands-free or not, driving while talking on the phone is dangerous. Google "car talk drive now" for lots of evidence if you're not convinced... and I'm sure most techdirt readers aren't. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 15 Jan 2006 @ 7:57am

    Another bleeping patent

    Some people will not be happy until everything that could be a risk has signs and flashing lights and annoying sounds.
    Did I say how I recently tripped over a "wet floor" warning sign, left behind when the floor was long dry?

    A better idea is to change the lights to red and keep them red until all drivers switch off their 'phones. Or get lynched. Quick, patent it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Flavored Ice, 15 Jan 2006 @ 10:48pm

      Re: Another bleeping patent

      Did you say you tripped over a "Wet Floor" sign... aren't those things big and yellow with WARNING on them...that would have been a good comment if you hadn't made yourself look stupid!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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