Klemens Schillinger's Substitute Phone aims to help overcome smartphone addiction


Schillinger makes an interesting case in indirectly comparing smartphone addiction to nicotine addiction.

Speaking to Dezeen, product and furniture designer Klemens Schillinger says that phones are becoming an addictive object in people's lives.

The handsome "devices" are made from black polyoxymethylene (acetal) plastic that simulates the heft of a phone, while the beads are natural Howlith stone.

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.

Do you grab your smartphone and mindlessly start scrolling more often than you'd like?

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These 'Substitute Phones' are supposed to be therapeutic, allowing smartphone addicts to go through the same calming motions they perform on their electronic handsets "to cope with withdrawal symptoms".

"The touchscreen smartphone has made it possible to "escape" into social media. These observations inspired the idea of making a tool that would help stop this "checking" behavior", the designer told Dezeen magazine.

Scientists have also warned that if you are regularly experiencing the "phantom phone alert" (when you think it has buzzed or pinged with a message or notification) this could be an indicator of neurosis and addition. The documentary basically shows how Umberto Eco tries to give up smoking pipe by replacing it with a wooden stick.

Schillinger said that he followed the same route and wanted to provide the physical feel of a phone for addicts, without the connectivity of actually being one. The beads roll in place, giving a similar frictionless feel but (I presume) also a pleasant little finger massage. The embedded stones will help the users scroll, pinch and even swipe. The first of these projects is Offline Lamp, which will only turn on when you put a smartphone-size object inside its drawer.

The simulated smartphone is not yet available to the public; Schillinger's online shop is "coming soon".