Many of us will have experienced habitual smartphone usage; operating our devices, not in the service of a specific, legitimate need, but simply because it’s there. If you’ve found yourself using your smartphone in such a scenario, an Austrian designer known as Klemens Schillinger might have a product to help you break that habit.
Schillinger has created a series of smartphone-like tablets — which he’s appropriately calling Substitute Phones — inspired by this compulsive smartphone checking idea. Each of these features a different arrangement of inset beads for you to move your fingers across — some of which emulate a specific smartphone gesture, like scrolling up and down a page, unlocking a device, or pinching-to-zoom — to recreate the feeling of using a modern handset when you have the urge to do so
According to Dezeen, which broke the story, these Substitute Phones act as “therapeutic tools” to help “frequent smartphone users cope with withdrawal symptoms” if they stop using their real device.
The Substitute Phone, then, isn’t intended to be a “fun” replacement for operating a smartphone, just a coping mechanism in its absence. 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 almost anything that attempts to reduce time spent online).
This isn’t the first such device the designer has made that was inspired by giving up phone habits, either — here’s a lamp that only lights up if you relinquish your phone:
Schillinger is expected to sell the Substitute Phones via his online store in the future for a yet to be disclosed price. What’s your take on the concept? Let us know in the comments.