The street is empty, you have a text you’ve been meaning to reply to, so you pull your phone out and send it as you go. Then, suddenly, lamppost to the head. It’s a weird kind of out of body experience where you hear the thunk of your head against the metal and you cringe as your mind’s eye reveals to you what you’ve done before you actually feel the pain. We’ve all experienced this George of the Jungle scenario at least once; it’s one of the many pitfalls of our need and ability to be constantly connected and constantly doing something. We become trapped in our smartphones.
Urban Periscope is the satirical smartphone accessory that wants to help us. Not by unhooking our eyes from our smartphones, but rather by making sure we never have to look up from them again.
The Urban Periscope is the work of Chase Kimball, Ingmar Larsen, and Whitney Keller and it’s basically a phone case with an angled mirror attached to the top that “redirects your vision 90 degrees” so that you “never have to pick your stupid face up from your stupid phone again.”
Ingmar Larsen isn’t new to mocking the world’s addiction to their smartphones, being the mind behind the No Phone, a slab of plastic in the shape of a phone that did, you guessed it, absolutely nothing. It still managed to raise over $18,000 on Kickstarter last year from over 900 backers.
Though the Urban Periscope is clearly a joke and there’s no indication it will ever have a commercial release I can’t pretend that I don’t want one. Well, more specifically, I want other people to have them. If they’re going to stare into their smartphones I don’t mind, but I’d quite like a way for them to avoid the lasting embarrassment that comes from going head first over a pile of bin bags. And as someone who tends to get lost and bury their head in Google Maps I wouldn’t say no to some navigation assistance.