Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Become a horrible human/machine hybrid with wearable "third eye" that lets you text while walking

Artist’s depiction of what we’ll all look like once we finally become “phono sapiens.”
Artist’s depiction of what we’ll all look like once we finally become “phono sapiens.”
Screenshot: Diavodo

There hardly seems to be much of a point anymore in trying to push back against the total encroachment of technology on our daily lives. We have computers. We have phones. We have dancing robots and AI Soundcloud rappers. Still, the rapid, constant development of new and ever more bizarre machines and software requires us to remain vigilant about accepting every new trend and creation without questioning its purpose—to always carefully consider the implications of what technology we let become normalized as part of daily life.

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Which is all, we guess, just a way to rationalize our desire to say: Fuck this forehead-mounted “third eye” thing.

Created by industrial designer Minwook Paeng, Third Eye is an impressive, awful feat of human ingenuity. The device is shaped like a robotic bone growth and is strapped to the user’s forehead so that it can monitor their surroundings while they’re looking down at their phone. Third Eye’s gyro sensors are able to tell when a wearer’s neck has shifted, prompting its strange plastic lid to shoot open and begin monitoring for other people or objects that its human host could walk into. It buzzes to notify an upcoming collision, thereby allowing people to safely, continually shitpost during every moment of their walk to work. It also looks like this.

Though Paeng plans to continue building his prototype, he tells Vice that the Third Eye is meant mainly to “ironically point out what we are doing with our smartphones” in order to “help people to take time for self-reflection.” Paeng’s work is concerned with how fully we’ve come to count on phone use as a part of our lives-he even has a catchy term for this, saying we’re becoming “phono sapiens”—and Third Eye has been designed to illustrate this.

In that sense, Third Eye can be considered a cousin to the nightmare creations of Human Computer Interaction Lab—the people behind that blinking, forever-staring webcam eye and synthetic skin smartphone case—though fortunately for our sake, it hasn’t yet been covered in fake human flesh.

Read more about Third Eye at Vice or check out Minwook Paeng’s Instagram to see it in action.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.