You may have heard Dave Gorman’s BBC radio 4 show Genius – it’s basically people coming up with ways to improve the world. They pick out the best ideas submitted and talk about them. They’re asking for people to contact them for the new series, so I did:
I would urge others to write in too.
Inner-ear proximity alarms for people. This combines hearing aid technology and the kind of proximity sensors used to help people park cars.People are always, always encroaching on other people’s private space (okay, MY private space) – treading on me at gigs, walking into me whilst texting in the street, standing right in the middle of the pavement for no reason, etc. The proximity sensor would activate as soon as two people came too close to each other, starting with a low buzzing tone and becoming louder / higher pitched the closer they came to making contact. This would encourage people to be more appreciative of howunecessarily close they might be to another person. People would be fitted with the units in their ear from birth, with no way of removing them. Some issues would certainly arise, where contact is deemed necessary or pleasurable (sex for example might become quite painful – bad or good?). To deal with this, the sensors might only be active in certain areas, activated by wireless technology e.g. supermarkets and pavements. As well as making people more aware of their space, it would also space everyone out more neatly. No one would sit right in front of you at the cinema if there was just as good a seat further away, hooded youths on buses wouldn’t bother you, assistants in shoe shops would keep a safe distance. Altogether, a better world I’m sure you’ll agree.