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Concept: Text messaging


Mobile phone texting is a common daily occurrence with a paucity of research examining corresponding gait characteristics. To date, most studies have participants walk in a straight line vs. overcoming barriers and obstacles that occur during regular walking. The aim of our study is to examine the effect of mobile phone texting during periods of cognitive distraction while walking and negotiating barriers synonymous with pedestrian traffic.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Walking, Locomotion, Text messaging, Pedestrian, Walkability, Motorola, Racewalking


OBJECTIVES: The objective of the present work was to study the impact of technological and social distraction on cautionary behaviours and crossing times in pedestrians. METHODS: Pedestrians were observed at 20 high-risk intersections during 1 of 3 randomly assigned time windows in 2012. Observers recorded demographic and behavioural information, including use of a mobile device (talking on the phone, text messaging, or listening to music). We examined the association between distraction and crossing behaviours, adjusting for age and gender. All multivariate analyses were conducted with random effect logistic regression (binary outcomes) and random effect linear regression (continuous outcomes), accounting for clustering by site. RESULTS: Observers recorded crossing behaviours for 1102 pedestrians. Nearly one-third (29.8%) of all pedestrians performed a distracting activity while crossing. Distractions included listening to music (11.2%), text messaging (7.3%) and using a handheld phone (6.2%). Text messaging, mobile phone use and talking with a companion increased crossing time. Texting pedestrians took 1.87 additional seconds (18.0%) to cross the average intersection (3.4 lanes), compared to undistracted pedestrians. Texting pedestrians were 3.9 times more likely than undistracted pedestrians to display at least 1 unsafe crossing behaviour (disobeying the lights, crossing mid-intersection, or failing to look both ways). Pedestrians listening to music walked more than half a second (0.54) faster across the average intersection than undistracted pedestrians. CONCLUSIONS: Distracting activity is common among pedestrians, even while crossing intersections. Technological and social distractions increase crossing times, with text messaging associated with the highest risk. Our findings suggest the need for intervention studies to reduce risk of pedestrian injury.

Concepts: Observation, Behavior, Human behavior, Mobile phone, Text messaging, Pedestrian, Distraction, Instant messaging


Modern technologies not only provide a variety of communication modes (e.g., texting, cell phone conversation, and online instant messaging), but also detailed electronic traces of these communications between individuals. These electronic traces indicate that the interactions occur in temporal bursts. Here, we study intercall duration of communications of the 100,000 most active cell phone users of a Chinese mobile phone operator. We confirm that the intercall durations follow a power-law distribution with an exponential cutoff at the population level but find differences when focusing on individual users. We apply statistical tests at the individual level and find that the intercall durations follow a power-law distribution for only 3,460 individuals (3.46%). The intercall durations for the majority (73.34%) follow a Weibull distribution. We quantify individual users using three measures: out-degree, percentage of outgoing calls, and communication diversity. We find that the cell phone users with a power-law duration distribution fall into three anomalous clusters: robot-based callers, telecom fraud, and telephone sales. This information is of interest to both academics and practitioners, mobile telecom operators in particular. In contrast, the individual users with a Weibull duration distribution form the fourth cluster of ordinary cell phone users. We also discover more information about the calling patterns of these four clusters (e.g., the probability that a user will call the c®-th most contact and the probability distribution of burst sizes). Our findings may enable a more detailed analysis of the huge body of data contained in the logs of massive users.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Internet, Text messaging, Mobile network operator, Cellular network, Push-button telephone, Instant messaging, GSM


Following male circumcision for HIV prevention, a high proportion of men fail to return for their scheduled seven-day post-operative visit. We evaluated the effect of short message service (SMS) text messages on attendance at this important visit.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Mobile phone, Text messaging, Message, Circumcision, Short Message Service, SMS, Instant messaging


Mobile phone-based assessment may represent a cost-effective and clinically effective method of monitoring psychotic symptoms in real-time. There are several software options, including the use of native smartphone applications and text messages (short message service, SMS). Little is known about the strengths and limitations of these two approaches in monitoring symptoms in individuals with serious mental illness.

Concepts: Mental illness, Mobile phone, Text messaging, Computer software, Short Message Service, SMS, BlackBerry, Nokia


There are concerns about the safety of texting while walking. Although evidence of negative effects of mobile phone use on gait is scarce, cognitive distraction, altered mechanical demands, and the reduced visual field associated with texting are likely to have an impact. In 26 healthy individuals we examined the effect of mobile phone use on gait. Individuals walked at a comfortable pace in a straight line over a distance of ∼8.5 m while; 1) walking without the use of a phone, 2) reading text on a mobile phone, or 3) typing text on a mobile phone. Gait performance was evaluated using a three-dimensional movement analysis system. In comparison with normal waking, when participants read or wrote text messages they walked with: greater absolute lateral foot position from one stride to the next; slower speed; greater rotation range of motion (ROM) of the head with respect to global space; the head held in a flexed position; more in-phase motion of the thorax and head in all planes, less motion between thorax and head (neck ROM); and more tightly organized coordination in lateral flexion and rotation directions. While writing text, participants walked slower, deviated more from a straight line and used less neck ROM than reading text. Although the arms and head moved with the thorax to reduce relative motion of the phone and facilitate reading and texting, movement of the head in global space increased and this could negatively impact the balance system. Texting, and to a lesser extent reading, modify gait performance. Texting or reading on a mobile phone may pose an additional risk to safety for pedestrians navigating obstacles or crossing the road.

Concepts: Mobile phone, Walking, Locomotion, Text messaging, Pedestrian, SMS, Instant messaging, Equilibrioception


Nonadherence is a major concern in the management of chronic conditions such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes where patients may discontinue or interrupt their medication for a variety of reasons. Text message reminders have been used to improve adherence. However, few programs or studies have explored the benefits of text messaging with older populations and at scale. In this paper, we present a program design using tailored and interactive text messaging to improve refill rates of partially adherent or nonadherent Medicare members of a large integrated health plan.

Concepts: Medicine, Health insurance, Mobile phone, Text messaging, SMS, Instant messaging


The initial introduction of the World Wide Web in 1990 brought around the biggest change in information acquisition. Due to the abundance of devices and ease of access they subsequently allow, the utility of mobile health (mHealth) has never been more endemic. A substantial amount of interactive and psychoeducational apps are readily available to download concerning a wide range of health issues. mHealth has the potential to reduce waiting times for appointments; eradicate the need to meet in person with a clinician, successively diminishing the workload of mental health professionals; be more cost effective to practices; and encourage self-care tactics. Previous research has given valid evidence with empirical studies proving the effectiveness of physical and mental health interventions using mobile apps. Alongside apps, there is evidence to show that receiving short message service (SMS) messages, which entail psychoeducation, medication reminders, and links to useful informative Web pages can also be advantageous to a patient’s mental and physical well-being. Available mHealth apps and SMS services and their ever improving quality necessitates a systematic review in the area in reference to reduction of symptomology, adherence to intervention, and usability.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Economics, Psychiatry, World Wide Web, Text messaging, Message, Short Message Service


In this work, we describe the first modular, and programmable platform capable of transmitting a text message using chemical signalling - a method also known as molecular communication. This form of communication is attractive for applications where conventional wireless systems perform poorly, from nanotechnology to urban health monitoring. Using examples, we demonstrate the use of our platform as a testbed for molecular communication, and illustrate the features of these communication systems using experiments. By providing a simple and inexpensive means of performing experiments, our system fills an important gap in the molecular communication literature, where much current work is done in simulation with simplified system models. A key finding in this paper is that these systems are often nonlinear in practice, whereas current simulations and analysis often assume that the system is linear. However, as we show in this work, despite the nonlinearity, reliable communication is still possible. Furthermore, this work motivates future studies on more realistic modelling, analysis, and design of theoretical models and algorithms for these systems.

Concepts: Chemistry, Text messaging, Message, SMS


Distracted driving is one of the most significant human factor issues in transport safety. Mobile phone interactions while driving may involve a multitude of cognitive and physical resources that result in inferior driving performance and reduced safety margins. The current study investigates characteristics of usage, risk factors, compensatory strategies in use and characteristics of high-frequency offenders of mobile phone use while driving. A series of questions were administered to drivers in Queensland (Australia) using an on-line questionnaire. A total of 484 drivers (34.9% males and 49.8% aged 17-25) participated anonymously. At least one of every two motorists surveyed reported engaging in distracted driving. Drivers were unable to acknowledge the increased crash risk associated with answering and locating a ringing phone in contrast to other tasks such as texting/browsing. Attitudes towards mobile phone usage were more favourable for talking than texting or browsing. Lowering the driving speed and increasing the distance from the vehicle in front were the most popular task-management strategies for talking and texting/browsing while driving. On the other hand, keeping the mobile phone low (e.g. in the driver’s lap or on the passenger seat) was the favourite strategy used by drivers to avoid police fines for both talking and texting/browsing. Logistic regression models were fitted to understand differences in risk factors for engaging in mobile phone conversations and browsing/texting while driving. For both tasks, exposure to driving, driving experience, driving history (offences and crashes), and attitudes were significant predictors. Future mobile phone prevention efforts would benefit from development of safe attitudes and increasing risk literacy. Enforcement of mobile phone distraction should be re-engineered, as the use of task-management strategies to evade police enforcement seems to dilute its effect on the prevention of this behaviour. Some countermeasures and suggestions were proposed in the design of public education campaigns and driver-mobile phone interaction.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Logistic regression, Risk, Laptop, Mobile phone, Police, Text messaging, Push-button telephone