Early warning app uses a phone's camera to give you spider-sense

We've all seen people bent over their phones so engrossed in texting or email they are unaware of the world around them. (We're all probably guilty of it, too.) Well, some clever engineers created an app that pays attention so that you don't have to.

Researchers at Italy's University of Bologna and Dartmouth College in New Hampshire have tackled the problem by creating an Android app using a cellphone's outward-facing camera to sense oncoming danger.

The WalkSafe app combines image recognition with algorithms to determine which way the cars on the road are facing, if they are moving, and processes the tilt and light conditions to assess the potential threat to the user. It can detect objects moving at 30 mph and up to 150 feet away.

The app alerts users via audible and vibrating alerts to jolt users back to their senses when it perceives a potential for them to be flattened.

But, as we've often learned preventing a zombie apocalypse often comes with some kind of caveat and the well-intentioned WalkSafe app is no different. The app's ability to protect its user is only applicable to the direction in which they are pointing the camera.

It's a good start, but the phone zombies will still need to rely on the rest of us to keep yelling, "Hey You!" to keep them from harm's way.

Smartphone Sensing Group, via PopSci

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