Enhancing Peripheral Alertness for Eyes-Busy Mobile Interaction while Walking

Mobile device use while walking, or eyes-busy mobile in-teraction, is a leading cause of life-threatening pedestrian collisions. We introduce CrashAlert, a system that aug-ments mobile devices with a depth camera, to provide dis-tance and location visual cues of obstacles on the user’s path. In a realistic environment outside the lab, CrashAlert users improve their handling of potential collisions, dodg-ing and slowing down for simple ones while lifting their head in more complex situations. Qualitative results outline the value of extending users’ peripheral alertness in eyes-busy mobile interaction through non-intrusive depth cues, as used in CrashAlert. We present the design features of our system and lessons learned from our evaluation.

UPDATE April 24, 2013
The Capri 1.25 by Primisense could be the enabling technology for CrashAlert is integrated into a Smartphone.


  • CHI2013 – [pdf (0.5MB)]
  • Media Coverage

  • MIT Technology Review – Safe Texting While Walking? Soon, There May Be an App for That – [online]
  • Asia One – New app to save you from embarrassing tumbles – [online]
  • Discovery News – CrashAlert App Clears Way to Walk and Text – [online]
  • Forbes – 3D Sensors Give Vision To CrashAlert App – [online]
  • BBC News – Avoiding the pitfalls of texting and walking – [online]
  • The Guardian – Smartphones and the rise of child accidents – [online]
  • MSDN Channel 9 – CrashAlert – [online]
  • Corriere della Sera – Messaggiare camminando, ora si può – [online]
  • Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – Manitoba researchers eye walking-texting safety app – [online]
  • CTV News – Students develop app to curb distracted walking mishaps – [online]
  • Huffington Post – CrashAlert la future solution pour envoyer des SMS en marchant sans risquer la collision – [online]
  • Die Tageszeitung – Schlendern und tippen ohne Furcht – [online]
  • Collaborators

  • Pourang Irani – University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada
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