Perhaps the most addictive class of technology devices, smartphones have become an extension of our arms in today’s time and age. A www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov research titled Cell-Phone Addiction: A Review shows that the need to hold and scroll through a phone is now an addictive behavior, and not only because they help us stay in touch and provide information. The experience of holding a device and the movement of the fingers on the screen is now associated with pleasure and anticipation. Even when one does not actually need to use the phone, the compulsive need to hold a phone is present. This is where Klemens Schillinger’s ‘Substitute Phones’ comes into play.
This non-phone is a replica of the average smartphone, but it only functions to help repeat the hundreds of everyday movements that are made on a smartphone every day. With no digital functions, the device has stone beads that are incorporated into the body to allow a user to zoom, swipe and scroll. It is considered a therapeutic alternate for smartphone addicts who suffer from, withdrawal symptoms of not having a smartphone in their hands.
Substitute Phone is an inert piece of high quality, heavy plastic which is embedded with stone beads that allow the user to run their fingers over them to stimulate different gestures. The beads simply roll in one place, mimicking the frictionless feel of a smartphone while also perhaps giving a little finger massage.
“The object, which some of us describe as a prosthesis, is reduced to nothing but the motions,” explains the Schillinger’s website description of this device. “This calming limitation offers help for smartphone addicts to cope with withdrawal symptoms. The object as a therapeutic approach.”
Schillinger is working on a series of similar devices, and this Substitute Phone is the second in a series related to the relationship people share with their devices. The first of the series was an Offline Lamp, which would only turn on when the user puts a smartphone-size object inside the drawer.
Smartphone addiction is something that most of us are addicted to, but not aware of. At such a time, the substitute smartphone could help us to avoid using phones with the sense of urgency that we are getting used to. Instead, we could use the time spent on undertaking the more critical and important tasks.