Just as fidget spinners started as a device to help stressed businessmen relief their tensions, there is now a mockup smartphone to help anxious users overcome their swiping addiction. Klemens Schillinger’s Substitute Phone provides the physical stimuli that tech addicts need without any of the actual features of a phone.
The Austrian designer presented his creation at the Vienna Design Week, which ran from September 29 to October 8. The devices caught the attention of the public for their stylish yet functional approach, although many, of course, doubt there is even a market for smartphone addicts in need of a luxurious device like this.
The unique pieces caught the attention of the public this weekend after the artist gave an interview to Dezeen magazine on Saturday. Substitute Phone models are not for sale yet, although the designer’s website lists a personal shop opening soon where people will also be able to acquire other creations.
‘Substitute Phone’ artfully satisfies your compulsion to swipe and scroll https://t.co/E4NyAA5wUm
— TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) November 26, 2017
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Schillinger told Dezeen that the creation of the Substitute Phone was inspired by the constant, almost compulsive need to check his phone even if no notifications came up on it. Acquaintances of his displayed similar behavior, so he drew inspiration from his realization to design an object that would calm that urge.
The Substitute Phone is made out of a solid plastic slab that resembles the shape, dimensions, and weight of a standard smartphone. It even looks like one from a distance, except it has been stripped away from all the technology that would make it basically a computer in the palm of your hand.
Instead, Schillinger opted to integrate a stress relief mechanism that, in his view, could help tech addicts cope with their compulsive behavior. He embedded strips of marbled beads into the “phone,” so that people can swipe their fingers across the front panel like they would do on a touchscreen.
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In addition to drawing inspiration from his own experience, Schillinger admitted to Dezeen that he was also enticed by Umberto Eco’s description of his method to quit smoking: instead of holding a pipe, he would bring a wooden stick to his mouth to fool himself into “smoking” with just the motion.
He hopes that the rolling beads on the Substitute Phone serve as an appeasing method to people addicted to their small screens, allowing them to replicate the finger gestures for swiping, zooming in and out, bringing down the notification drawer, and more.