Nav: Home

Pokémon Go and the potential for increased accidents

October 05, 2016

New research published by Oxford Medical Case Reports indicates that augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, while holding great promise to promote exercise, also increases the potential for distraction-related death.

The dramatic increase in smartphone adoption and computing power on ever more capable mobile computing platforms has been associated with a rise in reports of distraction-related injury and death. Recently, the layering of augmented reality information on top of smartphone applications has created further levels of user engagement and popularity. One augmented reality-based entertainment application, Pokémon Go, in which players use their phones' GPS systems to interact with virtual creatures that appear on the screen as if they were in same place as the players, has become the most rapidly downloaded game in history.

Researchers report two cases, presenting simultaneously to the trauma center at the University of Arizona, with injuries sustained secondary to gameplay with this augmented reality-based application.

Patient number 1, the driver of the pickup truck, was a 19-year-old man. Alert and oriented upon admission to the trauma center, he volunteered that while driving the truck he lost control at a speed of 40 miles per hour. He reported that he was 'hunting Pokémon' while driving and got distracted when he found one 'sitting across the road' in his direct path. Seeing this, he attempted to 'flick his Pokémon ball to capture the Pokémon' and lost control of the vehicle, rolling it and ejecting three passengers from the bed of the truck.

In a second case, a 58-year-old woman involved in a single motor vehicle accident, came to the same trauma unit as the first case. She collided with a utility pole after swerving off the road to avoid hitting a pedestrian. She presented with severe pelvic pain and was found to have multiple pelvic fractures. Scene reports from bystanders and Emergency Medical Services indicated that the pedestrian was engaged in a game of Pokémon Go and had wandered into the middle of the street to catch a Pokémon.

Mobile entertainment applications like Pokémon Go have the commendable ability to promote increased exercise. Still other types of connected wearables have helped both consumers and clinicians dose activity much as we might dose a drug. But mobile and mobile-augmented reality applications can also promote distraction. These constitute among the first reports in the medical literature of an augmented reality application-related injury requiring acute intervention in a trauma center. Researchers look forward to future works that can better characterize and classify the most common types of injuries that may result from increased use and adoption.

"Our world is filled with digital distractions increasing at a near logarithmic rate--both in work and in play", notes coauthor David G. Armstrong, Professor of Surgery and Director of the University of Arizona's Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance. "What we have to figure out as a society and, frankly, as a species, is how to dose these distractions to help make our lives better and not shorter."
-end-
The paper "Potential perils of peri-Pokémon perambulation: the dark reality of augmented reality?" is available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/omcr/omw080

Direct correspondence to:
Bellal Joseph
Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Critical Care and Emergency Surgery
University of Arizona
1501 N. Campbell Ave.
Tucson, Arizona 85724
bjoseph@surgery.arizona.edu
(520) 626-5056

Sharing on social media? Find Oxford Journals online at @OxfordJournals

Oxford University Press USA

Related Injuries Articles:

Cell phone injuries
Cell phones are mainstays of daily life. This observational study analyzed 20 years of data on people who went to emergency departments with head and neck injuries from cell phone use to estimate the number of injuries, learn what types of injuries there were, and understand how the injuries occurred, such as from distracted driving or walking.
New study looks at motorized scooter injuries
More than half of people who received X-rays or CT scans after electric scooter accidents were found to have injuries, most commonly to the upper extremities, according to a new study.
Firearm-related eye injuries to patients under 21
Researchers used data from a national registry of hospitalized trauma cases in the United States to examine patterns of firearm-related eye injuries among patients under age 21 from 2008 through 2014.
An 'EpiPen' for spinal cord injuries
An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body's immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis.
Changes from head injuries associated with increases in youth offending
A new longitudinal study looked at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries, which have been linked to increased levels of offending, among adolescents and early adults.
Injuries associated with standing electric scooter use
Nearly 250 patients ended up at two Southern California emergency departments with injuries associated with standing electric scooter use and few riders were wearing helmets.
The US has experienced a spike in violent and unintentional injuries
The US has experienced a disturbing increase in violent and unintentional injuries over the last few years, reversing positive gains made in the 1980s and 1990s, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Health Medical Center.
Decrease in eye injuries to children
Eye injuries that sent children to emergency departments in the United States decreased from 2006 to 2014, and most eye injuries posed low risk for vision loss.
New hope for women with fistula injuries
The health care systems in the United States and other industrialized countries have outgrown many of the childbirth-related injuries that are still very problematic in poor countries.
Don't let skiing and snowboarding injuries take you downhill
Skiing and snowboarding are fun winter sports. As the popularity of these winter sports continue to rise, according to a review article published in the Jan.
More Injuries News and Injuries Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab