US tech giant Apple has filed a patent for new technology that aims to make texting while walking safer by replacing the text background with a live video feed of whatever is in front of the smartphone user.
Many smartphone users keep their eyes glued to the screens while texting and walking which can cause them to stumble over or bump into obstacles.
Apple's 'transparent texting' aims to solve this problem by overlaying messages on a live video feed from the rear camera of the smartphone.
This will allow users to see what is happening beyond their phone and text at the same time.
"A user who is walking while participating in a text messaging session may inadvertently collide with or stumble over objects in his path because his attention was focused on his device's display instead of the path that he was traversing," according to the patent filed in the US.
The patent describes how the transparency feature could be activated by pressing a transparency button within a texting session that switches on the video feed.
The feature would then ensure text bubbles appear overlaid over the live background video. The text bubbles themselves could be opaque or semi-transparent, according to Tech Crunch.
The patent, originally filed in September 2012, details potential extensions of the concept of transparent texting, including replacing the background of a webpage with a live video feed, so that the text of a website is overlaid over whatever environments the device user is moving through. "Alternative embodiments of the invention can be applied to virtually any computer-executable application in which text is presented over a background," the patent application said.
A recent study by researchers from University at Buffalo in the US found that texting while walking may result in more injuries per mile than distracted driving.
The study found that though injuries from car accidents involving texting are often more severe, physical harm resulting from texting and walking occurs more frequently.