Text-Detecting 'Camera' Technology Aimed At Distracted Drivers Photo:

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Tony O'Kane | Sep, 19 2014 | 2 Comments

Ever taken a furtive glance at your phone while driving? You're not in the minority.

How about making a call using speaker mode, mobile phone cradled in your lap? Again, a great many drivers are doing so this very second.

But do you take your eyes off the road long enough to compose a text message? Well, if US company ComSonics has its way, your days are (rightfully) numbered.

Based on technology used to detect signal leaks from data cabling, ComSonics' SMS-sniffing device is able to be pointed at a car and "hear" the tell-tale electronic emissions of a phone sending a text message - the morse code-like beeps that you can sometimes hear when your phone is placed next to a speaker.

And with SMS transmissions being handled on a different set of frequencies to those use by voice calls and Bluetooth audio streaming, the system only returns a 'hit' when an SMS is sent.

But while looking away from the road to tap out a message is definitely a bad idea and something that law enforcement should clamp down on, there's one flaw in ComSonic's approach.

If there's more than one person in a car, it can't tell whether it was the driver's phone sending a message or that of a passenger, meaning police would only be able to target single-occupant vehicles.

It's also not clear how far this technology is from being mature enough to deploy, though the message is clear - if you text while driving, the law will have you in its sights.

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