'Substitute Phone' relieves addiction to fiddling with smartphones

Everyday, most individuals cannot help but fiddle with their smartphones every chance they get.

To help people overcome this form of addiction, an Austrian designer thought up the “Substitute Phone.”

This item has a similar purpose as fidget cubes and spinners – keep the hands occupied. Except that the Substitute Phone has been designed to look and feel like a smartphone.

Product and furniture designer Klemens Schillinger designed Substitute Phones to replicate the motions commonly done to operate a smartphone. He does this by incorporating beads arranged in certain configurations.

Photo: Klemens Sschillinger official website

A user could run their thumb or index finger across the line of beads to simulate swiping left, right, up, down or diagonally. Users could even do the pinching motion equated for zooming in and out.

Schillinger told architecture and design publication Dezeen that he was inspired by Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco, who attempted to give up smoking by switching from his pipe to a wooden stick.

5 things you should know about fidget spinners

“It was the same thing, but without the nicotine, just the physical stimulation,” Schillinger said. “I remembered this and thought to make phones that would provide the physical stimulation but not the connectivity.”

He also referred to these objects as prosthesis to help smartphone addicts cope with withdrawal symptoms.

For now, Substitute Phone is not yet available. Schillinger’s personal site has a shop page but only shows a “coming soon” message

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