Getting rid of an addiction is never easy, but for some, substituting it for something similar (but less damaging) may do the trick. And in this day and age where mobile devices rule the land, some people find that they have become too attached to their smartphones, for better or worse, causing them to lose some sleep, sustain eye strain, or suffer nomophobia (the fear or feeling of anxiety of not being able to check one’s smartphone for new messages), whether they admit it or not.
Well, Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger is offering a rather stylish solution -- Substitute Phones. You can think of Substitute Phones as essentially fidget spinners that come in the basic shape of today’s smartphone devices. Normal handsets come with fully functioning display screens, right? But Substitute Phones do not. What they have instead are little stone balls lined up in slots across the face. Users can either scroll on those stones, in order to mimic the swiping or zooming motion, or just basically do whatever they fancy with the beads.
The Substitute Phones come in five models, which each variant crafted from black polyoxymethylene (acetal) plastic material. As for the stone beads, they are polished Howlith stones, all natural. Some might think that aesthetics do not need to play a big role in this, but it is worth mentioning that Schillinger makes no secret of the fact that his Substitute Phones are meant to be art pieces. The added bonus is that the things just happen to have a helpful purpose, that is other than being art pieces. The Vienna based designer actually showcased the Substitute Phones during an exhibition last fall, called #OFFLINE – DESIGN FOR THE (GOOD OLD) REAL WORLD. The event was held to show how our obsession with mobile technology is taking over our lives, and how we might be able to deal with this obsession.
Around a couple of weeks ago, consulting firm Deloitte had published the results of the 2017 Global Mobile Consumer Survey it recently conducted. The findings indicate that nearly half of mobile users in the United States are claiming to making a conscious effort to significantly reduce their mobile device usage. Of course, this is easier said than done -- in June of last year, a separate study conducted by Intel Security found that close to half of American consumers simply could not stop themselves from checking new messages while on vacation. Could Schillinger’s Substitute Phones help? It remains to be seen for now, but for those really serious about reducing their mobile usage time, the Substitute Phone is an option they can explore.
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