Glance around a busy high street and you’ll see people walking along glued to their phones’ screens, oblivious to the people around them and imminent accidents.

Designers Chase Kimball, Ingmar Larsen and Whitney Keller have come up with a tongue-in-cheek solution. Urban Periscope is a smartphone case with an integrated periscope that gives a 90-degree view of the road ahead so you can type, text or browse without having to lift your head or worry about bumping into someone.

Urban Periscope

“The Urban Periscope is a completely analog phone case that uses the principles of the periscope to redirect your vision so you can look at your phone and interact with the world around you at the exact same time,” reads the group’s website.

Check out the video below to find out more.

Ingmar Larsen, one of the designers of the case, was also behind the NoPhone Zero, a device that sardonically addresses the issue of smartphone addiction.

The NoPhone (below) looks like a phone, but is actually a technology-free plastic rectangle, the idea being that you can grip it for comfort instead of a mobile device


According to Larson it “acts as a surrogate to any smart mobile device, enabling you to always have a rectangle of smooth, cold plastic to clutch without forgoing any potential engagement with your direct environment”.

The product earned £13,018 ($18,316) on Kickstarter and over 3,200 ‘phones’ have been shipped.

Urban Periscope also fits into the ‘joke’ product category, and its website has ‘quotes’ from people such as US Vice President Joe Biden, who writes: “I would’ve never seen that oncoming bus if I hadn’t been using my Urban Periscope.”

But it does raise valid issues about the number of people who wander around staring at their phones instead of enjoying the real world – just like this photograph of film fans waiting at a premiere.

Designed for the iPhone 6, we don’t know yet if Urban Periscope will be coming to market, the team told us it depends how much interest there is. Register your interest at Urban Periscope.

Photo and video credit: Chase Kimball, Ingmar Larsen, Whitney Keller

What do you think of Urban Periscope and the NoPhone – are they a humorous take on our smartphone addiction? Let us know in the Comments section below.