Smartphone addiction is real problem. It's making us anti-social at dinner, sleep badly at night and it's killing our ability to talk like normal people.
Its gotten so bad in the city of Augsburg, Germany that young millenials are now so engrossed in their phones that they're entirely oblivious to pedestrian crossings.
After two seriously close escapes during which people stepped into the path of an oncoming tram the city council decided something needed to be done.
What they did was install new traffic lights, in the floor. The council realised if that if they could make teens look up they were just going to have to move the lights to where their attentions were now focused: down at their phones.
The lights might seem like overkill when in fact we should just be paying more attention but their inception comes from a place of necessity.
A girl was tragically killed in Munich just a few months ago after it transpired she was looking at her smartphone with her headphones in.
Seven Gadgets That Are Genuinely Trying To Make Us Better Humans:
What's better than saving the planet? How about saving it from your smartphone, one plant at a time. As well as making drones, incredible headphones and in-car stereos Parrot also make the world's most intelligent plant pot. With a 2.2l water reservoir built in, a smart irrigation system and four sensors the Pot connects to WiFi so you can keep your Orchid at the top of its game even when you're not at home.
2Hydrao - Smart Shower
The average person uses 80 litres of water during a shower. That's a frankly obscene amount of what is fast becoming a precious commodity being used for no other reason than allowing you a sing-a-long in the mornings. Thankfully Hydrao is here to help. This smart shower head changes colour depending on how much water you've used. It has Bluetooth 4.0 built-in and connects to a smartphone app which then shows you how you've been doing. The clincher is that it doesn't need any power, instead it's powered by the water passing through it.
3Marbotic Smart Letters
We've all heard those horror stories about children spending an absolute fortune on their parent's tablets. Well Marbotic has found a way to combine traditional wooden toys with the iPad that won't cost you an arm and a leg. These little wooden letters and numbers can be 'stamped' onto the iPad's screen. The app comes with a range of different games and educational exercises. It's a wonderfully simple way of combining the old with the new.
Ziro could do for robotics what Google Cardboard has done for virtual reality. Bought as a set these wireless 'blocks' can be put together any way you want while a glove then allows you to control your creation using gestures. The whole package is completely customisable as well letting you assign gestures to different actions using the smartphone app.
The Beddit sleep tracker deserves a mention as one of the most comprehensive packages around. Rather than forcing you to sleep with a phone under your pillow, this subtle device can accurately track your sleep and even your resting heart-rate. At the end of each night you get given a score and then recommendations on how to get that score up. In the battle for inner peace, Beddit is leading the charge.
6Kolibree Smart Toothbrush
Cleaning one's teeth can be an incredibly dull task so imagine how boring it must be for a child. Realising that infants simply don't have an attention span, Kolibree have come up with this ingenious smart toothbrush. Packed with sensors it turns brushing into a game. With some big name partners on board including Ubisoft the game intelligently knows how and where you're brushing your teeth thanks to Bluetooth built into the brush. You know what, sod the kids we're buying one for us as well.
7BeeWi Tap Sensor
So you've started saving water in the shower, but what about the garden? Enter BeeWi's latest innovation, a water tap sensor that can be programmed to automatically water your garden. Rather than wasteful watering the smart tap knows the right amount to pump out, saving water and also saving you some serious money too.