ILY Japan

Japanese Phones Now Come With Function to Keep You From Texting and Walking into Traffic

It's unclear if it disables Snapchatting.

A snapshot from Japan.

A snapshot from Japan.

Walking without texting feels wrong. What are you supposed to do with your hands? Act casual

However, it could lead to a lot of perilous situations since your eyes are glued to the screen and not the street. Enter Docomo, a Japanese wireless carrier, that thinks it has a solution.

The company is adding an optional “safety mode” to its phones that detects if its owner is walking, then effectively renders it useless. If activated, a warning message pops up on the phone reading “Using your smartphone while walking is dangerous. The phone senses you are walking. Please stop.” then disables its ability to text.

There’s three stages of “walking detection sensitivity” that don’t include dodging tourists: high, medium and low. As the Register writes, it seems complicated to turn off because they have to first stop walking, then:

If users really want to access the device they can then tap “close” on the warning screen to get ten more seconds of use, or press and hold the power button to get five vital extra seconds.

The new “feature” is part of Docomo’s social responsibility campaign. It’s hoped that this will deter people from walking and texting because shuffling in front of a high-speed train is apparently a common occurrence there. Imagine that selfie.

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