I’m getting increasingly concerned about the potential for serious ‘texting accidents’ (what I’m going to call textcidents). These occur when two or more people are walking along texting into their cellphone and, oblivious of their surroundings, bump into each other. I’ve already advocated public ‘SMS Crannies’, where people can move out of the flow of humanity on sidewalks and pedestrian precincts to do their texting, but this doesn’t seem to have caught on.
So here’s another idea: Transparent screens that allow the user to see their screen, while at the same time seeing obstacles and hazards ahead of them. Of course, you would think that the screens are so small nowadays that most people would get some sense of other people, objects or animals encroaching into their path, but these are people who are walking along a crowded public space typing, so I’m not sure that ‘sense’ is in plentiful supply here.
I don’t have any studies to hand here, but I’m pretty sure that if the screen is transparent, the texter will be able to register both the text on the screen and whatever is behind it — in this case a lumbering giant bearing down on them.