Continuing the texting and driving theme... (LINK)
The NY Times and CBS news has conducted a poll http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/technology/02textingside.html and it seems that there are really high percentages of people agreeing about no texting while driving. Penalties, penalties, penalties...
And then there is a story about how Britain has become very agressive in the punishment area http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/02/technology/02texting.html obviously hoping to curtail the behavior (heavier than "click-it or ticket" and more along the lines of "use a gun, go to jail" -> "text while driving, go to jail")
But actually, I think this technology has promise to help solve the problem in another way
While I have worked with and around face recognition software before, this particular application of similar technology would (I would think) allow a driving pattern to developed and stored within the system, because the system has to eventually recognize what the driver is looking at. According to Toshiba, it can be used to alert the driver to inattentive driving (or to operate car navigation system by combining the eye direction and manually-operated switches). The former alerting mechanism, I think, would allow this driving pattern, implicitly, to be differentiated from the texting "looking" pattern. Become inattentive, because of the texting, the system would "alert the driver". Let's hope the alerts don't lead to an aftermarket of methods of disconnection.
What do you think? obviously, more work to be done (they would need to eliminate the computational requirements that force a PC into the car, or simply wait for more horsepower) and, according to their statement in the article, they have no plans to commercialize this yet.
Still - here is something that might be worthwhile, something better than relying on GPS and/or accelerometers tied to the texting function.