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This Designer Really Wants You To Kick Your Smartphone Addiction

27 November 2017

With smartphones, there has emerged an inherent, unshakeable itch to keep scrolling, tapping, or flipping through something - anything just to pass the time. To help them overcome this form of addiction, an Austrian designer made a decision to come up with a "Substitute Phone".

In an interview with Dezeen, Schillinger explains that his hope is that the device will help people overcome their addictions, much like swapping a cigarette for a lollipop, Kojak style (though Schillinger claims he was inspired by Umberto Eco, rather than Telly Savalas).

Essentially, Schillinger created five different slabs of black polyoxymethylene plastic interrupted only by marbles on the surface.

Schillinger wanted to create "a tool that would help stop this "checking" behaviour", as reported by The Verge. The embedded stones will help the users scroll, pinch and even swipe.

Did you know that there is actually a fear of being without your mobile phone, and in medical terms, it is referred to as nomophobia?

The item is not exactly a phone and has the same goal as fidget spinners and cubes-keeping the hands occupied, except that it is created to look and feel like a smartphone. "There are no digital functions". Schillinger says he aims to make the Substitute Phone a coping mechanism for a person who wants to be cured of random impulses to check their real-life smartphone. With new reports springing up with alarming regularity linking smartphone usage to mental health problems (specifically, depression), what could at first be viewed as quite a silly idea may actually serve as a partial remedy for a growing issue (though I concede that the same could be said of nearly anything that attempts to reduce time spent online). He calls the concept "a therapeutic approach". The Substitute phone was however featured in an exhibition for the Vienna Design Week earlier this fall.

"It was the same thing, but without the nicotine, just the physical stimulation", Schillinger said.