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Apple Patent Aims To Allow For Safe Texting And Walking

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A diagram of the walk and text feature in Apple's patent. (Credit: U.S. Patent Office)

A diagram of the walk and text feature in Apple’s patent. (Credit: U.S. Patent Office)

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — Walking and texting just might become as easy as walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Apple has filed a patent, which was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week, that aims to allow texters to display a live video feed of their surroundings while texting.

The goal is to make it easier for people to avoid things like street lamps, or worse, moving cars on Michigan Avenue while texting on the move.

According to the patent, the device’s “camera can continuously capture and present the video images in the background of the texting session so that the device’s user can continuously be aware of the environment beyond the device’s display while still focusing on the text message being communicated.”

The display’s inventor is listed as Stephen Payne of Waterford, Mich.

The patent also hints at other uses of the technology, allowing users to stream the video behind a web browser or app. So, in theory, posting a status update on Facebook or checking scores on ESPN could also be done safely while walking.

The patent suggests that the technology is fully functional but there is no indication when, or even if, Apple would roll out the feature.

The latest version of iOS 7 already includes transparent overlays, such as when a user pulls down notifications from the top of the home screen.

There are apps on the market that allow users to type over an image of their surroundings, but they require them to copy and paste the text into the relevant application, such as Twitter or the text message function.

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