Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

Harder than walking and chewing gum at the same time…

Serious bookworms don’t read just on the train. They read anytime they have a minute—sometimes at their peril. The father of a certain Fiction-Writers-Review-editor-who-shall-not-be-named has been known to read the newspaper while driving. And in high school, I knew a girl who read books while walking: down the hallway AND down the sidewalk. I was never quite able to master this skill.

As usual, technology has come to the rescue. Inkstone Software has added the “Walk N’ Read HUD (Heads-Up Display)” feature to their e-reader MegaReader—and it does just what it says on the box. Explains the company’s press release:

Walk n’Read HUD is the first ebook reader which uses the iPhone’s rear facing camera to let you read books and documents on the move while staying aware of hazardous obstacles in your path.

The press release cites a New York Times article on the hazards of “distracted walking,” as well as several specific incidences where texters fell into manholes or fountains, as cautionary tales.

Lest you think Inkstone takes itself too seriously, though, the company offers the following tongue-in-cheek tips:

Inkstone has also released a short guide for people who regularly walk and read, in the hopes that safe reading will become a byword across the nation.

  • Before going out on the street, practice reading safely while strolling around your own home. Feel free to hum.
  • Keep your phone at a safe distance from your face, to avoid unsightly secondary impact lesions in the event of an unfortunate accident.
  • Even while using Walk n’Read HUD, keep your peripheral vision alert at all times. You never know when danger might strike from an angle!
  • Walk a little slower than you usually do, to maximize your evasive reaction time.
  • Loitering cats, especially black, usually mean trouble. Be prepared.
  • Never attempt to pilot a high speed vehicle, or bicycle, while using Walk n’Read HUD.
  • Never read while crossing a road, fast flowing river or other unpredictably tricky obstacle.

Anyone out there tried the Walk N’ Read app? Tell us how it worked out in the comments—but please, email us from a safely seated position.


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